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Can Babies Swim on Cruise Ships?

Can Babies Swim on Cruise Ships?

Are you taking a little one on a cruise and wondering can babies swim on cruise ships? In this guide we will outline all of the rules outlining whether babies are allowed in the pool on a cruise and what considerations you need to take into account. 

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you! 

Can Babies Swim on Cruise Ships?

One of the joys about being on a cruise, especially if you are taking a hot weather cruise or have a cruise itinerary with lots of sea days, is relaxing around the pool. But what about if you are going on a cruise with a baby or decide to go cruising with a toddler? Can babies swim on cruise ships?  Or what about unpotty trained toddlers non in a cruise ship pool?

The answer is no they can’t except for in some rare circumstances. 

Rules about Babies using  pools on Cruise Ships?

Can Babies Swim on Cruise Ships?

Can Babies Swim on Cruise Ships?

Maritime Law states that unpotty trained babies and toddlers can NOT use the swimming pool on board cruise ships.  Cruise ships are always very concerned about Gastrointestinal illnesses which can spread like wildfire in enclosed spaces such as cruise ships which is one of the main reasons for not having babies and toddlers in cruise ship pools.  

However the way that some of the more family friendly cruise lines have got around this rule is by the addition of Splash Pads or splash pools. Splash pads are far easier to keep clean so the addition of these on some cruise ships is a way of providing water based amenities for the smallest cruise line guests.

These areas can be used by babies or toddlers even if they aren’t toilet trained but not all ships or lines will have these. Therefore it is important to do your research on which lines and ships have splash pads if this is important to your family for their vacation and their policy around the use of swim diapers in them. 

Can babies use swim diapers on cruise ships?


Swim Diapers, or swim nappies as they say in the UK are not allowed in any cruise ship pool. It is against Maritime Law for any unpotty trained baby or toddler to go in a cruise ship pool. 

However swim diapers are allowed in some cruise ship Splash Pads. Splash pads are a way for the youngest guests on ships to have some water play areas while limiting the cross contamination risk like being in a swimming pool with a swim diaper. Click here to shop swim diapers

While most splash pads have been created with unpotty trained children in mind there is a notable exception to the rule about swim diapers in Carnival. This notable exception however is Carnival cruises who say that unpotty trained babies and toddlers are not even allowed in the splash pads and spray areas.

If your ship however is one that allows unpotty trained children into the Splash Pads then we recommend taking swim diapers in the right size on board with you.

The reason for this is because swim diapers may not be available in the onboard shop, may not have the correct size and even if they do have them you will be paying a premium for them. Therefore we recommend adding them to your cruise packing list for babies

For a toddler cruise packing list check out this post. 

Can babies go in jacuzzis on cruise ships?

On top of pools and splash pads, many cruise ships have whirlpools and jacuzzis on their pool deck. However the rules about babies in jacuzzis on cruise ships are the same as in pools, you can not take them in. 

For more information on cruise ships with heated pools check out this post. 

Cruise Lines with splash pads

Now you know that splash pads are the only thing that children who aren’t potty trained can use on a cruise ship it is important to know which cruise lines provide splash pads. From our research we have found the following cruise lines have some ships with splash pads(although not all ships in their fleet will have the same amenities). They are:

  • Disney Cruise Line
  • MSC (though there is no information on their website re the use of Swim Diapers there is anecdotal evidence that children have been allowed to use their splash pads).
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean 

Note: As always with anything cruise related it is always best to talk to the cruise line directly before booking to ensure the rules are up to date as regulations for cruise ships change quickly and regularly. 

On top of this there is some anecdotal evidence of children being able to use swim nappies in the splash pads on Norwegian but we are waiting to hear back from them to clarify their position.  

Note: this is obviously less important on an Alaskan cruise with babies where the water is very cold. 

Cruise Ships with Splash Pool

Now that you know which lines to consider if having water play areas for your baby or toddler is important to you on our cruise. However as we have stated, just because a line offers some splash pads on its pool it doesn’t mean that all of the ships in their fleet have the same amenities. Therefore it is important to look at cruise ships with splash pools rather than just the line.

Which Disney cruise ships have toddler and baby friendly splash pads?

  • Disney Dream
  • Disney Fantasy
  • Disney Magic
  • Disney Wish
  • Disney Wonder

Note: For tips on keeping toddlers safe on cruises check out this post. 

Which MSC cruise ships have baby friendly splash pads?

The following ships in the MSC fleet have splash pads:

  • MSC Bellissima
  • MSC Meraviglia
  • The MSC Preziosa
  • MSC Seaside

Which P&O cruise ships have baby friendly splash pads?

  • P&O Iona

Which Royal Caribbean cruise ships have baby friendly splash pads?


Cruising with a baby

Cruising with a baby

Out of all of the cruise lines Royal Caribbean’s fleet have the most extensive splash pad provisions. The following ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet have splash pad provisions:

  • Allure of the Seas.
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas.
  • Odyssey of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Wonder of the Seas

Cruise Lines where swim diapers are not allowed anywhere

Cruise ship in port - tips for cruising while pregnant - babymoon cruise - cruise embarkation day tips

The cruise lines where swim diapers are not allowed in any water space onboard or do not provide water spaces for babies and toddlers are:

  • Carnival 
  • Celebrity
  • Holland America
  • Princess

Tips for baby pools on cruise ships

We have a whole post on how to cruise with a baby which will tell you everything you need to know about cruising with babies and the age requirements to do so you should check out this post. It also includes a baby cruise packing list. However if you want  some tips on how to keep your baby cool and swim on cruise ships keep reading:

Take an inflatable bath with you.

Not all cruise cabins have baths. Our little ones both loved baths and hated showers so we always traveled on cruises with an inflatable bath. It also doubles us as a water play area if you are on a ship without a splash pad.

Click here to shop inflatable baby baths for cruise ship travel

Bring swim diapers with you

We recommend bringing swim diapers with you whether you ship has a splash pad or not. 

If your ship does have a splash pad the shop will likely have a limited range of swim diapers in the shop but you can’t be guaranteed they will have the right size and you will pay premium so it is best to bring them with you.

And if your ship doesn’t have a splash pad you may still need swim diapers for your shore excursions with kids and you are unlikely to be able to find them onboard and no one wants to waste their time looking for diapers on shore excursion days. 

Have you been on a cruise ship with a baby? Were they allowed to use the pool?