Cruising with a Toddler – everything you need to know

Cruising with a Toddler – everything you need to know

We have always loved a cruise and we have been cruising with our little one since she was six months old. Since then we have been on a Med Cruise, a cruise around Japan and a cruise that went all the way from Sydney to San Diego all before she was two years old!  Cruising with a toddler does present a unique set of challenges but it is a holiday we really enjoy so here are all our tips  and everything you need to know about how to go cruising with a toddler! 

Are cruises a good toddler holiday?

There are so many myths about cruising and there is definitely a misconception that cruises and toddlers don’t make for a great holiday combination! However we have spent many days at sea and believe that cruises are actually a great holiday for toddlers. Here’s why new think so and what you should know about cruising with a toddler!

Things to Know before going on a cruise with a toddler

Are toddlers allowed in cruise ship pools?

This is dependent on cruise lines and whether children are potty trained. Only Disney really allow unpotty trained children in the swimming pool – and this is more splash area than actually swimming pool. This is probably the hardest thing is trying to explain to a child who isn’t potty trained that they can’t use the pool so either wait until after they are potty trained or consider a cruise with Disney!

Think about the itinerary

All cruise itineraries are good but some are better than others! Think about what your toddler enjoys – for instance a Med or Caribbean cruise with all the fab beaches is probably a better bet than a Baltic cruise!

Also consider how many days you are going to have at sea and how you will occupy your child on these days! Here’s our advice! 

For more consideration on how to pick a toddler friendly itinerary check this post out! 

What cruise line is toddler friendly?

Some cruises (Disney, rcl, ncl) have more of a reputation for being family friendly! However we have cruises with a range of lines including Holland America and have enjoyed them all. It is important however to assess what is important to your family – Children’s facilities versus itinerary etc and make the decision based on your family needs.

It is also worth noting that ships within a line can vary – bigger ships have more people but also more facilities so it is worth comparing and working out the type of atmosphere you would enjoy most!

What facilities are there?

As I mentioned above ships can vary from line to line and even within the same fleet!  Some things to consider that might not be on every ship that you might want when travelling with a toddler include:

  • laundry
  • Splash pad (place for unpotty trained kids)
  • Kids club access for under 3s

What type of room to book when cruising with a toddler

It is always a dilemma choosing the type of cabin on a cruise lien. In truth all cabins are acceptable but travelling with a toddler you may want to consider whether you are happy with a balcony travelling with a toddler and if you want access to one for those inevitable early nights!

For more information on room types check out our post here

And if you want to know more about cruise suites you can see our review here!

Things to pack for a cruise with toddler

One of the things to remember whenever you are going on a cruise is that space is a premium! However while I emphasis packing light here are some essentials for your suitcase!


Wherever you travel the nights at sea and air con can get cold so layers are a key to pack!

Formal nights

Remember a cute outfit for your little for those important formal night photos!

Inflatable Swimming Pool

If your line doesn’t allow toddlers in the swimming pool this will be a godsend if you have a balcony. Also doubles up as a bath if your room doesn’t have a bath!


We usually go for low irritation toys that can be used outside the stateroom such as colouring, sticker books and jigsaws!

Umbrella Stroller or compact stroller

Space is a premium on cruise ships so make sure your stroller is compact.

We recommend the Famlidoo Air Stroller


Though sometimes available it is best to take a good supply with you and stock up in port!

For more toddler travel tips check out this post!

Should I take a car seat on a cruise?

This is a lot to do with what type of excursions you usually take. If any by car this is going to be necessary unless your private tour operator can supply!

We love our urban kanga as it is so compact!

Other things to know before taking a cruise with a toddler

Book dinner in advance so you get the early time slot and request a table on your own if that is preferred.

Book baby sitting in advance if it is offered by your line to be sure you get the time you want.

What are your tips for cruising with a toddler?

Cruising with a toddler, taking a toddler on a cruise, are cruises toddler friendly, cruise with toddler

Cruising with a toddler, taking a toddler on a cruise, are cruises toddler friendly



  1. November 5, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    you’re a brave person traveling with a toddler all the time. But hey, if they are good most the time and adapt well to their new environment then more power to you.

    Have a Great Day!

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  2. November 11, 2018 / 9:50 am

    This is such great advice – I took my daughter on a cruise when she was 17 months and would totally agree with what you’ve written. The balcony was great for us as I could sit out while she napped and I liked the flexible dining as well as it meant we could pretty much always get food whenever she got hungry (and buffets were good for picky moments!)

  3. November 12, 2018 / 11:37 am

    Is that chess board pic from the ms Veednam? We cruised that ship last year and it looks exactly like that! We waiting until our kids were 6 and 9 to first cruise and we wish we had gone earlier! We love cruising!

    • November 12, 2018 / 11:44 am

      It was the ms mass dam! Are they sister ships?

  4. November 12, 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Great tips! We’ve never really cruised and only went on one when my son was three. We enjoyed ourselves but having a toddler definitely presented some challenges.

  5. November 13, 2018 / 10:52 am

    Love this — and great tips. In February I took the challenge and invited my daughter, my toddler AND teen granddaughters on a Disney Cruise. Both ages presented challenges!

  6. December 8, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    I’ve a,ways fancied cruising but imagined I’d have to wait till my kids moved out but maybe not!

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