Nothing could be more relaxing than enjoying calm waters and beautiful views from a cruise.
But when a baby is thrown into the mix, that perfect vacation can begin sounding like a total nightmare. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.
Going on a cruise with a baby (or even several small children) can be a lot more enjoyable than one might think, so long as the proper steps are followed both before and during the cruise. Here are our top five tips for having baby on board.
Prior to embarking on the cruise, there are a lot of mistakes parents tend to make when cruising with a baby.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes is over-packing. Having too much to schlep around can make even the most luxurious and romantic of cruises absolutely miserable. Parents can do themselves a favor by ditching that oversized jogging stroller for a small umbrella stroller and renting a car seat with the rental car (rather than bringing one from home).
Some cruise lines even offer baby food delivery and diaper laundering services, so parents who are willing to spend a little extra money can pack less and enjoy themselves more.
Babies go through many outfits each day – a lesson we all learn very early in the parenting game — which means finding a ship that makes laundry easy. This can save the hassle of having to loading suitcases with too many changes of baby clothes.
It will also save on time packing upfront, laundry when you return home and checked bag fees if you are flying!
Consider spending a little extra money for a cabin with a balcony. The slight upgrade can make a world of difference to your experience whether it’s Alaskan mountains or pure blue Caribbean waters floating past.
A balcony allows parents to sneak in a little “alone” time, catch some sun, and enjoy themselves while baby is taking a nap without having to worry about finding a sitter (though you should take advantage of the ship board services for this too!!). This is a great way to make the most of cruising with a baby and can cut down on “cabin fever” as well.
Finally, parents should always check with the cruise line to ensure that their cabin comes with a bathtub. For space-saving measures, many cruise lines equip only a select few cabins with tubs and furnish the rest with stand-up showers–which are not baby-friendly by any means.
Unless your little one is still small enough to be bathed in a sink, specifically request a cabin with a bath tub or be prepared to pack your own.
Not all cruise lines are as accommodating to parents as others, which is why parents should also take the time to research various cruise lines and book with one that’s known for great customer service and family-friendly accommodations.
Specifically, parents are encouraged to check with a cruise line to find out its minimum age requirement for cruising. Some cruise lines will require passengers to be 12 or older, whereas family-friendly cruise lines will generally allow passengers over the age of six months on board. In fact, that’s one of the things which often sets Disney Cruise Line apart, they easily and happily welcome all ages.
Aside from keeping the above criteria in mind when searching for a baby-friendly cruise line, it’s also a good idea to talk with family specialized travel agents. Many have not only traveled with their own little ones, but through years of experience know which lines can be most accommodating.
Going on a cruise with a baby in-tote may not be everybody’s idea of a great time, but by following these simple tips and recommendations, even first-time parents can have an enjoyable cruise with their little ones.
At the end of the day, a family cruise can be a wonderful way to create memories.