When you welcome a newborn into your family, it certainly offers a whole new set of challenges and responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t share your love of cruising with your new bundle of joy.
You just might have to do a little more research and preparation to make sure you can have a hassle-free and delightful travel experience. Cruise Addicts is here to help with our top tips and tricks to get you ready for your first cruise with a baby.
Check Age Restrictions
Most cruise lines require babies to be at least six months old to join a cruise. Transatlantic, Hawaii and South America cruises often have an age limit of at least 1-year-old before a baby can take one of these voyages.
Hunt for the Best Fares
You can get some great breaks when you bring along an infant (or any kids, really). MSC Cruises allows children 18 and younger to sail free when they are the third passenger in the same cabin with two adults. That’s a deal. Most other lines charge fares for babies, but they often are reduced up to 50 percent. Also, look for lines that provide baby food if you prefer not to pack food for the trip (beware of the hefty fee, though), and check for ships that offer cabins with bathtubs to make it easier to keep your toddler clean.
If you plan to have date nights with your partner or will be going ashore for your excursions and beach time without your baby, make sure that your ship offers babysitting services. Ship staffers typically will watch your child for up to four hours at a time at a nursery area. Disney Cruise ships, for example, have the “It’s a Small World” nursery, a space chock full of activities for youngsters up to 3. Rates usually start around $8 per child per hour for cruise ship babysitting services. Some lines also offer in-cabin babysitting for a premium.
Daycare and Infant Services
Check the cruise ship’s programs. Make sure it offers daycare services and fun playrooms and spaces for kids younger than 2 where you can drop off your child for a bit or join your baby for a little playtime? Seek ships with quiet areas equipped with cribs, play spaces, and age-appropriate toys.
Many major cruise lines also offer packages of amenities for your baby, such as diapers, wipes and baby food that you can order and have delivered to your room so that you don’t have to weigh down your suitcases with these items.
Play Areas and Splash Zones
Babies love to splash around in the water. Look for cruise ships that have splash pools that allow children with swim diapers. These colorful play spaces are brilliant amenities for families cruising with babies in the Caribbean and other warm regions.
You can get cribs or Pack ‘n Play-style playpens (usually complimentary) for use during your cruise. Strollers and other items like bottle warmers are available to rent, but make sure you reserve the items you need early because supplies can be limited.
Parents usually like to have a bathtub for their infants. Disney Cruise Line’s cabins have tubs, but you would need to look for larger cabins or upgrade to suites that offer bathtubs on other lines if this is a must. A few lines have baby tubs that you may borrow.
The key to having your best cruise vacation with a baby is to ask what the cruise line offers so you can ensure you have everything you need. Also, consider using a professional travel planner who specializes in family cruises and can help you knock out each item on your checklist.
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