Are you thinking about taking a cruise with your baby, but you are worried about how appropriate that might be? Actually, many families travel quite successfully with baby in tow. To find out how, keep reading!
Best Laid Plans
You'll find that traveling with baby will become much simpler if you plan ahead...way ahead! Of course, that isn't always possible, but the earlier you begin making your plans the better. Not only will you have a wider variety of choices as to the availability of berths, cruises, etc., but you'll also have more time to take care of everything you need before your cruise date arrives.
Depending upon the cruise line that you choose, many are free for children under two years old. For those who are between the ages of two and seventeen, most lines offer a reduced third and fourth berth rate. Some lines also offer reduced rates of around $100 for children under the age of three. Even if your child is under the age of two, however, port taxes and fees usually still apply.
Cabin and Cruise Necessities
There are several points you'll want to keep in mind when booking a cabin.
- Most lines only offer showers in the regular cabins. However, many of these showers have hand-held nozzles, making it easier to bathe your child.
- When you book your cabin, go ahead and reserve a crib if you need one.
- If your toddler doesn't use a baby bed, you might want to invest in a folding bed bar to keep your toddler in the bed and off the floor!
- High chairs are usually available, but there may not be enough to go around at buffets. You might want to pack a portable booster seat that folds up.
- As soon as you enter your cabin, check for a child's or infant's safety vest. If there isn't one available, notify your steward.
- You might want to consider reserving a cabin with a veranda. You can enjoy a sunny afternoon while your baby naps!
- Check ahead to see if your ship offers laundry services. If so, you may not need to pack as many changes of clothing, bibs, blankets, etc.
Family Friendly Cruise Lines
There are several family friendly ship lines. These ships cater to families with small children as wells as teens. Check out the following lines for more individual details: Disney Cruises, Princess , Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Costa , and Holland America.
Packing for a Cruise
When you get ready to pack for your baby, don't be surprised at the amount of items you'll need! You'll probably want to follow this check list and add a few items of your own!
- Diaper bag
- Swim diapers
- Swim suits
- Diapers and wipes
- Diaper ointment
- Several changes of clothes (Some of these can be packed in a suitcase, while others need to be in a carryon diaper bag for easy access.)
- Formula (If your baby is under one year, she still needs formula or breast milk.
- Baby foods (Pack easy-open jars and cartons.)
- Baby pain relievers
- Hat (For sun protection and/or warmth)
- Gloves (if necessary)
- Burp cloths
- Diaper sacks (for dirty diapers)
- Diaper pads (to change baby's diaper)
- Blankets (at least two)
- Ziplock baggies (to put dirty clothes in)
- Baby carrier
If you are flying, you might want to pack large amounts of items, such as diapers, baby food, wipes, etc. in a large box and check the box at the airport. When you've used up all of the items, simply throw the box away!
Relax and Have Fun!
Finally, don't make your daily schedule so hectic that you and your baby don't have time to rest. Remember, if your baby is cranky, you'll end up cranky, too! Schedule periods of downtime, so that your baby isn't too overwhelmed with all of your daily activities. Don't expect too much of him! Be sure you give him plenty of cuddle time, too!