Just because you became parents doesn’t mean you have to give up traveling or cruising. In fact we have done it recently and would like to give you 7 tips for cruising with children under two that will help you travel and cruise with ease and confidence.
One: Potty trained or not here I come
If you have been on a cruise you know swimming pools, slides and everything related to water take center stage on the upper deck where sunbathers are enjoying the sun, and outdoor activities are located.
Pool decks are one of the best places to lay back on a lounge chair with your favorite cocktail or beer and a book. How about your baby or toddler? Most cruise ships do not allow non-potty trained kids to use the pools. Check with the cruise line to find out more about their potty-trained policies and if there is a wading pool available for babies and toddlers. Wading pools are great places for children under two to hang out while parents enjoy the sun.
Two: Baby sitting and programs for babies and toddlers
Most cruise ships’ kids’ programs are for children three and above. The under two programs are limited and only a few cruise ships cater to this age group. In our experience, Disney has one the best facilities and programs called Disney Flounder’s Reef Nursery.
For example, Disney Magic’s Flounder’s Reef Nursery is catered to children from 3 months to 3 years. For a small fee you can drop off your children to a facility with trained counselors, relaxed atmosphere with Disney’s The Little Mermaid under-the-sea theme with calming music, toys, books, games, quiet area with cribs for babies, DVD player, television and unscheduled age appropriate activities.
They are open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and early reservation is highly recommended. For more information please check out Disney Cruise Line. Private baby-sitting is available with Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity Cruise and Crystal Cruise.
Three: Emergency Kit
Although there are ways to prevent sickness, things happen in life. Always be prepared with your children’s health needs. Bring enough pain and fever reducing medication, allergy, diarrhea, motion sickness and everything for the ‘just in case’ moments of sickness and pain.
All large cruise ships have a medical facility and an in-house doctor. It is better to be prepared to help reduce risk and health concerns while on board.
Four: Books, toys and favorites
An unfamiliar place or a different routine may upset your child. Pack their favorite toys, books or blanket in a carry-on bag. It is easier to soothe an unhappy child with his or her favorite toys.
If you are flying from your hometown Los Angeles CA to the embarkation port in Galveston TX, your short flight of two hours 50 minutes will be quicker than you can imagine if your children have appropriate toys and their favorite things to keep them happy and entertained.
Having toys and books in your cabin can help entertain your child while you relax.
Five: Snacks, baby formula and diapers
You may enjoy the abundance of food on board. On the other hand your toddler may not even touch them when it comes time to eat. Or their little tummies may not be able to store enough food until the next meal. Having their favorite snacks handy will save you from stress and headache.
Bring ample supply of baby formula, baby food and diapers if you are bringing your baby on board.
Six: Physical activities
Schedule time for physical activities for toddlers. Sleep may not come easy in a new environment for some children. Having a tired, worn out body is easier to fall asleep than one that has been in a sedentary state all day.
Seven: Be flexible
Children, like adults need flexibility. Relax, slow down, you are on vacation. Be flexible and enjoy. It’s okay to let your child have the candy if he wants twice a day. The truth is that no matter how much we plan, having room for flexibility will take a lot of stress out of the equation for a great cruising experience.
To help you plan your next cruise, here are a few helpful tools:
Please find out more about our recent trip on Disney Cruise with a toddler. Happy cruising!