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:
- 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!
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!
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?