Top Tips for Cruising with a Baby!

Top Tips for Cruising with a Baby!

We are experienced cruisers – now being in double figures, and have sailed round the Med, Carribean, Greek Islands, New York and Alaska, so there was no doubt in our mind that we would cruise with baby! Excitedly we booked our first cruise on Royal  Carribean’s Rhapsody of the Seas sailing out of Rome as soon as our daughter hit the required 6 month minimum age (minimum ages vary by cruises but 6 months seems the most common – check with your cruise line before booking). As I normally do once I book a holiday I started googling. To my horror the first thing I found when looking for information about cruising with baby was an article on how terrible a cruise with baby was! Eek! Had we really been naive?Is taking a baby on a cruise a bad idea? Can cruising with a baby be an enjoyable experience for the whole family? 

Are Babies on Cruises Allowed?

The answer is absolutely babies can go on cruise ships and be enjoyable.  Infants and cruises are a match made in vacation heaven! It was the absolute perfect family vacation for us!

Is there a minimum age to go cruising with an infant?

Cruising with a baby! Taking a baby on a cruise

The minimum age to go cruising with a baby varies from ship to ship. However as a general rule cruising with babies requires a minimum age of six months! However to cruise with infant on an itinerary that has several consecutive days at sea, the age limit is likely to be higher! Please check with your provider before booking for each itinerary!

So why Cruise with a Baby?

Cruise with a baby because you won’t worry about food! 

There’s no need to worry about where to eat! There are restaurants for every occasions. If you are tired, have a cranky baby or just can’t be bothered you can enjoy the buffet or even better complimentary (check your line) room service. And for nights you want something fancier  you can enjoy fine dining in the main restaurant! We even managed to have a special anniversary meal at the ships Steak House!

Cruising with a baby - how to cruise with a baby - can I take a baby on a cruise - are cruises baby friendly

Enjoying an anniversary glass of champers in the concierge lounge – baby asleep in pram

Plus you never have to worry about availability of a high chair! That’s the one thing we have found inconsistent when travelling with baby is availability of high chairs but this isn’t the case on cruises!

Also on our cruise, Royal Carribbean were only too happy to purée fresh foods for our baby. She particularly loved the fresh peach and pear purees the chef would whip up for her! I can imagine the restaurants being great for fussy child eaters too!

Cruise with a baby because you don’t need to worry about Organisation

Someone else can help organise. Organised shore excursions are a great way to see things without the hassle of organisation. Please remember to check with your line which excursions allow under threes and children!

Cruise with a baby because of the Kids Club and Babysitting


There are kids clubs and baby sitting services offered, in room or Kids club dependent on age, for a charge, so it’s easy for parents to enjoy a baby free night while being only minutes away from your tot at any time. I really like the fact that you are guaranteed a certain standard of child care facilities. We didn’t use these facilities on our cruise, baby was sleeping well and a breeze in the evenings so we didn’t need the aded expense but we would definitely use them in the future.

Cruise with a baby because there are Plenty of places for toddlers on a cruise ship

You get to satisfy your wanderlust without exhaustion for you or little one. I love the fact that you can see several places on one trip without the hassle and stress of driving between places. It also gives you a really good bite-sized introduction to a place so you know where you want to go back to (or not) at a later date!

Tips for cruising with a baby

  • Pack wisely – bags don’t arrive in Stateroom until late in the evening (if you are unlucky). So if you are going on a cruise with a baby I urge you to pack your hand luggage wisely – for more advice on embarkation day packing lists why not check out our Essential Guide to Embarkation Day Packing List for Babies.
  • Remember babies, unless toilet trained, are not allowed to use the pool. I recommend taking an inflatable baby bath with you so baby can cool off on the comfort of your balcony. Also many staterooms – unless you book a suite or sail on Disney do not have a bath! So an inflatable baby bath in my opinion is a definite must pack. For more advice on essential things to pack for travelling with baby check out this post!
  • Dining Room Options – first sitting or anytime dining. Anytime Dining on Royal Caribbean is only available if you prepay your gratuities but is totally worth it in our opinion. It allows you to change your schedule day by day and also means you can get a table on your own which might take some of the stress out for parents.
  • Pick the best stateroom you can afford. I am not going to lie, indoor staterooms are small. As a couple wanting a cheap holiday we would always book an inside cabin but we are older and wiser now. Babies come with lots of stuff. Storage of a stroller, travel cot, car seat plus cases will take up a lot of room so bigger staterooms are better if you can afford it.If not pack wisely and keep cases down to a minimum (I know easier said than done). Also you are likely going to be spending more time in your stateroom than when you were a couple. It might be nice to have a balcony or at least a window (depending on age and mobility of a baby you might prefer window to balcony)! We have a full guide on cruise cabins for families HERE to give you some more in-depth advice! 
  • Don’t overschedule and be flexible – my go to advice for any travel with a baby but especially try for taking baby on a cruise where there is something going on 24 7! Tired babies are cranky babies and cranky babies make for cranky parents. Prioritise what you really want to do and plan down time for the little ones.

But don’t just take my word for it! Here’s what other parents say about taking babies on cruises and give you their top tips for how to cruise with a baby successfully!

Looking for more cruise tips? Check our our guide to cruise tips for first timers! 

Cruising with Toddlers on Carnival

Claire from Tinbox traveller says: “If a friend was to asked me do babies and cruises mix my answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. It really was the best family holiday we’ve had so far.

However, there’s lots of things you need to be aware of so you are well prepared before you set sail. We took our then 13-month-old baby and three-year-old on a Mediterranean cruise with Carnival Vista in June 2016.

Cruising with a baby - how to cruise with a baby - can I take a baby on a cruise - are cruises baby friendly

The Tinbox Traveller Family enjoying Formal Night

Over eight days we visited three countries and seven ports of call. It was a trip that satisfied our desire to explore new places but also allowed for the down time needed when travelling with small children who are still dependant on ridged meal times and naps. We sought the advice of other seasoned cruisers before our holiday and learnt lots of lessons for ourselves.

Top tips for Cruising with toddlers on Carnival

  • pack your own bottle cleaning and sterilising equipment. You won’t have a microwave in your cabin, so steriliser bags or a cold water steriliser are a must.
  • Take all the nappies, wet wipes and other baby consumables you will need for your cruise as you won’t be able to buy them onboard.
  • Be aware that the vast majority of cruise lines don’t allow children in their ships’ pools unless they are potty trained.
  • Most of all, don’t over do things. It’s great to see the sights in each port but excursions are often geared towards older families and couples. Go for half day excursions and opt for self-guided tours so you can stop for nappy changes and feeds without loosing your group or guide”.

Cruising with an 18 month old

Sharon from Where’s Sharon say?

We went on our first family cruise when our kids were three and just oner 18 month old. It was on the Carnival Freedom exploring the Caribbean for 7 days. I must admit that beforehand I was worried after reading that our kids couldn’t play in kids club together, that non toilet trained kids couldn’t use the pool, etc. I wondered if it was a good choice at all with a 20 month old.

I worried for nothing. We absolutely loved it. It’s the only time I have felt like I had a break since becoming a parent. It was just so easy. The biggest thing that made it a success for us was deciding not to worry about whether we thought activities were kid appropriate and just trying things anyway. It was great! We all enjoyed the shows and I never would have thought that a bar with live music would be good with a 20 month old, but he loved dancing away!

Cruising with a baby - how to cruise with a baby - can I take a baby on a cruise - are cruises baby friendly

Where’s Sharon family enjoying onboard activities

We found our youngest could go to kids club – just only super early and on port days we could pay for him to play there. We did that one port day and it was so amazing to spend time in the Bahamas with just my husband.

The food was great. We went to the fine dining room most nights and they were fabulous with the kids. It was no problem at all. We loved getting room service for breakfast and would order a bit extra so we had some snacks in our room for later.

All four of us had a great time and we are looking forward to doing another cruise in January with our newest baby who will be 7 months old”.

Royal Caribbean Cruise with a baby!

Globtrotting Grommets are also no strangers to cruises with baby. This is what they have to say about their Royal Caribbean Cruise with a baby:

“Our first cruise was in 2014 on Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas – my hubby booked it and I’m not going to lie I was a little hesitant about taking babies on cruise ships . I had NO idea what to expect, especially with kids aged 7 5 and 9 months. But we have since cruised every year after and I found cruising with a baby much easier than with a toddler!

Cruising with a baby - how to cruise with a baby - can I take a baby on a cruise - are cruises baby friendly

The Globtrotting Grommets Enjoying Formal Night

We stayed in a Grand suite (3 kids don’t fit in normal rooms), and it was perfect size for us. A lot of the normal cabins don’t have baths and the basins aren’t a great size for bathing a baby. So make sure your baby is used to having showers before you go.Check to see if the ship you want to sail on has a nursery / daycare for under 3. Rhapsody of the Seas did and it was fantastic. Some days you could only do 2 hour slots once a day depending on how many kids where in there.

Top Tips for Royal Caribbean Cruise with a baby

Make sure you have a good, compact stroller. Our baby would sleep while we walked around the ship. Plus with the ships being so big a good stroller is a necessity.

Take your own nappies and supplies, and plenty of – as it’s really hard to buy them on the ship. The same applies as for any other holiday, pack all your medicinal products with you – again there is limited options to buy onboard, and although there is a doctor if required it will be much easier to have anything else already onboard with you.

With shore excursions, a lot will not take kids under 3. Check your itinerary and make sure the shore excursions you want to do take babies. We never book our excursions through the ship so generally find the locals take the younger ones.

Bottle feeding – I had to heat the bottles up with the kettle in our room which was a pain but obviously there’s no microwaves in your cabin”.

You can read more about their cruise experience here and can be found on:
 

FAQS about taking a Cruise with Baby

What is the best cruise for babies?

There is no right cruise for a baby in my opinion! Taking a cruise with baby as opposed to cursing with toddlers or older children is that they don’t have many requirements or need a lot of amenities! Therefore if you want to go cruising with babies I would advise just picking the itinerary and ship that you like best! 

Can i take a baby on a cruise?

Yes, but usually there is a 6 month or 1 year minimum age requirement depending on how many sea days and cruise line you are sailing with! Please check with your intended cruise provider before booking for details on when can you take a baby on a cruise!

Is is safe to take a baby on a cruise? 

Having done several cruises with a baby and toddler I have  to say that we found it to be safe

Do you have to pay for babies on cruises?

Usually yes! However you may not have to pay for gratuities! Cruise prices are calculated on per person and this can include babies and children! 

However if you are looking for which cruise lines are free for infants you can find them! You just have to look for the offers! 

What is the best cruise line for babies?

Again, as babies need so few amenities I would opt for the best itinerary and the line that appeals to you most! 

What is the best stroller for cruise ships?

Space is limited on cruise ships! I recommend opting for an umbrella stroller! We use the Familidoo Air Stroller! 

Have we convinced you to cruise with a baby? Have you been on a cruise with a baby? What are your top tips for cruising with a baby?

 

57 Comments

  1. January 23, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Cruises have never really appealed to me but this looks good and a good way of travelling without the fuss of lots of flights with a little one. Thanks for sharing for #marvmondays x

    • January 23, 2017 / 10:57 am

      I think there are a lot of misconceptions about them TBH

      • June 1, 2017 / 9:47 am

        I think a lot of people still have a very “Love Boat” impression of cruising when actually it’s changed so much in the past 10 years! Love your post, and I agree – it’s the perfect vacation option with kids #fearlessfamtrav

  2. January 23, 2017 / 1:10 pm

    Cruise would have been the last place I would have taken my two, but yeah, think I missed the boat on that one (!!!). Loved the bow tie outfit – very smart!

  3. January 23, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Fab information here. I’d love to take my kids on a cruise one day. #MarvMondays

  4. January 24, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    We’ve never been on a cruise, with ot without kids, but reading your post it actually sounds like quite a good idea for parents of babies!

  5. January 25, 2017 / 3:31 am

    Cruises are so awesome!! (like i wrote above). However, we did just do a cruise last week with a 7 month old and I am not quite as positive about them as I was. It was still so much work whereas with a 1yo, it was so easy! What a difference a year makes! I’m jealous that you found child care and babysitters for your baby. It was so limited on our Carnival cruise that it wasn’t really an option. There was no chance for a meal in peace unfortunatelty.

    • January 25, 2017 / 5:11 am

      Oh no! How disappointing – I would have thought carnival would have been great for babysitting. We didn’t use in our ship – our baby just slept in the pram! If you want to write an update let me know. I hope you still enjoyed your holiday

      • January 25, 2017 / 3:28 pm

        No baby sitting on Carnival. Kids under 2 can go to kids club for a fee but only 10pm-1am (seriously!) and mornings on port days. It was the same on the last Carnival cruise we were on as well.

        I still definitely enjoyed it, just not as much as with the 1yo 😀

        • January 25, 2017 / 4:38 pm

          Oh no! I hope you managed to enjoy as much as you could!

  6. January 26, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    It’s very encouraging to hear that something you’ve enjoyed so much as a couple can still be just as enjoyable as a young family. Sounds like cruising is going to be a big part of your family travels! Thanks for sharing your excellent baby cruising tips on #FarawayFiles

    • January 27, 2017 / 5:16 am

      Thanks – we try to mix up the ways we travel – trekking,cruising, Trains and driving etc. Cruises are the first we’ve tried again as a family and so happy we still enjoyed

  7. January 27, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    I would think cruising would the perfect way to travel with a baby – much easier with all the available amenities at your fingertips and all the stress of new places handled for you. Glad it was a successful first tour! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • January 27, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      You are exactly right and you get to see so much

  8. January 28, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I enjoyed this article, and think that you’ve described not only why cruising is fun with a baby, but also why you should TRAVEL with a baby. My attitude is, just do it. Don’t overthink things, and you will make your own fun on the way. It’s really encouraging to see that you’ve also included cruise advice from some of my other fave family travel bloggers. I’ll be sharing this article on my social networks! Thanks #FarawayFiles.

    • January 29, 2017 / 5:30 am

      Thank you – we write quite a lot on why you should travel with babies and completely agree with your just do it attitude! I really appreciate you sharing this far and wide thanks again

  9. January 30, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Great tips here – especially the one about the bags not arriving till late in the day. If you weren’t aware of that, it could lead to stressful hunts for babyfood! #MondayEscapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 11:50 am

      Yes we learnt the lesson while still a couple. Wouldn’t want that stress with a baby

  10. January 30, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I didn’t realise about the baby and pool rule. We love the pool on holidays so I think the inflatable pool is a really good idea. I would love to go on a cruise though we’ve never seriously considered it yet!

    • January 30, 2017 / 12:37 pm

      Yes – Disney is different and some cruises have splash pools for little ones but ours didn’t. Our baby was perfectly happy with the inflatable bath! We love a cruise – I hope you get on one soon!

  11. January 30, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    We’ve never been on a cruise, but I’d love to someday! It just seems like a very expensive holiday, so I’ve always been very hesitant to research the options. I’ve read about relocation cruises though, might be a good alternative… Any experience? Would like some info about budget if you care to share! #MondayEscapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      Yes will definitely write about a budget option soon – thanks for the suggestion! We once did a cruise for less than it would have cost us commuting to work and have takeaways for dinner while we were having a new kitchen fitted! Will write soon and let you know when it’s live

  12. January 30, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    You certainly make it look like a very credible option with a young family. Personally I still can’t get past the motion sickness issue so don’t think I’ll ever make a cruiser. #MondayEscapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 1:15 pm

      It’s surprisingly not that bad. My mum was worried about it when we took her but even she didn’t struggle. I think the size makes the difference but it’s not for everyone

  13. January 30, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    Excellent tips – I ‘m convinced! #mondayescapes

  14. January 30, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    My husband is not a huge fan of cruises, but maybe this post might encourage him since we have a 9 month old. I can totally see how it is a great compromise between satisfying your wanderlust and keeping the babies comfortable.
    Will be pinning for later! #mondayescapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 3:50 pm

      We have found it the perfect way to travel with a baby – lots more info on the blog to convince hubby to go!

  15. January 30, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Great post. We want to go on a cruise but the price is just too much for us 🙁 our parents loved their cruise. We also have to make sure places can do food for our youngest has he has food allergies #MondayEscapes

    • January 31, 2017 / 3:28 am

      Gosh travelling with a little one with food allergies must make life very difficult

  16. January 30, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    We have cruised quite a lot too, Joe was just over 1 on our first cruise he is now 11 and loves it, I would say it is the perfect holiday if you choose the right ship, both of our boys are cruise mad x

  17. January 31, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    I’m a little dubious about taking a cruise, not because we have one baby but because we travel with ten of our kids aged between 13 and 2. Keeping an eye on all of them on a boat… I’m not sure! Lots of good ideas and thought in your post for anyone travelling lighter in the kids department than we do! Great post! #MondayEscapes

    • January 31, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Ten children! Wow you must have your hands full! I’ll have to check out your blog to read about how you travel with so many! You can teach us some juggling skills I’m surev

  18. February 9, 2017 / 7:11 am

    Thanks for including our experiences in this post! With a little bit of preparation, and top tips from other travelling families, it’s possible to make the most of any holiday. We loved our first cruise with young kids!

    • February 9, 2017 / 8:28 am

      Thanks for taking part – we loved reading about your cruise experience

  19. March 28, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Great tips here, especially bringing your own little inflatable baby bath/pool. I’ve only been one one cruise ever and it was with a 7 & 13 y.o at the time and they loved it, so I reckon you’ve got years of family cruising to look forward to. #GetGone

  20. June 1, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Some great advice. I’ve never done a cruise before – with or without kids -but I’m sure that will change in the future. It’s interesting that children under 6 months aren’t allowed and the pool is out of bounds for younger children. Although makes sense. #fearlessfamtrav

  21. June 1, 2017 / 7:47 am

    I’d still love to try. Did you get round to writing that post about the costs of a cruise? That’s what holding us back. #fearlessfamtrav

    • June 1, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      No but thanks for the reminder I will make sure I get onto it

  22. June 1, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    The idea of a cruise has never particularly appealed to me – but it does sound like a good way of travelling to several destinations without exhausting a little one #fearlessfamtrav

  23. June 1, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    We have never ever taken a cruise. Even pre-kids. For some reason it’s never appealed to us. However, I think guys… you may have turned us around 🙂 A great read!

  24. June 1, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    We couldn’t agree more with how great a cruise with kids is, basically a floating hotel room so all your stuff stays unpacked while you get to visit new places everyday. We went to Norway with P&O and it was all so easy and the kids club was brilliant, we were able to get quality time with the kids but also the most time alone since becoming parents. #fearlessfamtrav

    • June 1, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      I agree with a.. your pointe. Great to hear from a fellow cruiser

  25. June 3, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    Since reading your other posts about cruises I’ve been researching different options and we are all very keen to go! I think our kids would love it. Just need to save up for it! #fearlessfamtrav

  26. June 5, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    What a great resource for families wanting to take a cruise! I have never been on a cruise, so this would be so helpful! #fearlessfamtrav

  27. June 12, 2017 / 9:20 am

    Whilst we are definitely not cruise fans, I find the article by CruiseCritic to be rather silly and superficial. With the exception of cabin space, I can’t see how cruising with a baby can be any different from other all-inclusive type holidays with a baby. If you are someone who enjoys luxury all-inclusive holidays, then surely cruising is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your little ones AND see the world at the same time. Hope you enjoy many more cruises with your family! #FearlessFamTrav

  28. September 20, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Cruise aren’t for everyone but most people do really enjoy them. It’s funny, one of the biggest barriers to cruising is for people to actually take their first cruise. There’s a static in the cruise industry that is something like well over 90% of first-time cruisers say they want to return for another cruise.

  29. December 12, 2018 / 8:36 am

    I hadn’t considered a cruise with kids as I have never been on one and probably assumed it was an adult holiday. Will look at them as an option when we next have a holiday

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