Updated: Apr 5
Taking a cruise with a baby can be an exciting adventure, but it also requires some careful planning to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for both the baby and the parents.
In this post, we will discuss what to plan when taking a cruise with a baby under 2 years old, including some packing essentials, choosing the right cabin, preparing for mealtime and activities, and managing health and safety concerns.
Choosing the Right Cabin
Choosing the right cabin is essential when cruising with a baby. Consider booking a larger cabin with a balcony or a suite that has a separate living area to provide more space for your family. Additionally, look for cabins that are located away from busy areas of the ship, such as elevators or entertainment venues, to minimize noise and disruptions.
If you plan to spend a lot of time in your cabin, consider requesting a refrigerator or mini-fridge to store baby food and formula. Depending on which cruise line that you are choosing, they may also provide baby equipment rentals such as high chairs, cribs, and baby monitors, so be sure to inquire about these options when booking your cruise.
For more things to consider when booking your cruise, check out my blog post here.
When packing for a cruise with a baby, it is important to bring along all the essentials your baby will need during the trip. This includes diapers, wipes, formula or baby food, bottles, pacifiers, bibs, and extra clothes. On the cruise you are not likely to find these items, so be sure to pack enough of each item to last for the duration of the cruise and a few extra in case of unexpected delays or emergencies.
Additionally, here are my top packing tips when it comes to cruising with baby:
Temperatures on a cruise can go from highs during the day to varied lows when the sun sets and especially when you are out at sea. Because of this it is a good idea to pack layers and a few "cold" weather items even if you are cruising in the summer. This is especially important if you are on cruises further north like an Alaskan Cruise or something similar.
Consider bringing a *narrow and compact* stroller or carrier to make it easier to navigate the ship and explore ports of call. For more on choosing the right stroller for your cruise, check out my blog post here.
Organization is key - things that can help you stay organized in a compact space will be especially helpful.
Everything from the walls to ceiling are magnetic: finding magnetic hooks to hang hats, towels or other items like magnetic toys can be especially helpful.
Most staterooms only have one outlet. So it can be helpful to bring extension cords or power strips that are NOT surge protectors as they are a fire risk on cruises.
Cruises often only have shower facilities. Consider bringing an inflatable bathtub to help with bathing baby.
A portable playpen or travel crib can also provide a safe and comfortable space for your baby to play and sleep. Although the cruise ship will likely provide this, they are not always the *nicest* depending on which cruise line you are traveling with.
I have a whole section of helpful cruise items linked in my Amazon Storefront - check that out here!
Preparing for Mealtime and Activities
Mealtime and activities can be challenging when traveling with a baby, but with some advance planning, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Most cruise lines offer special menus for children and can accommodate special dietary needs such as formula or baby food. While some can offer some kind of baby food puree options, you may need to place that order in advance so check with your ships food prep options.
When dining in the ship's restaurants, consider requesting a table near the entrance or exit to make it easier to take your baby in and out as needed. If you prefer to dine in your cabin, room service is often available and can be a convenient option for families with young children.
Helpful tip: If choosing a formal dining option, request for all kids food to be brought out immediately. This might help you get through the dinner or at least part of it without having any huge meltdowns.
When it comes to activities, some cruise lines offer childcare services for infants and toddlers, allowing parents to enjoy some adult time while their children are being cared for by trained professionals. However they do often have age limits and this should be researched in advance. I find most of the childcare options for the "youngest" cruisers are limited to very specific and short times throughout the day.
Additionally, look for family-friendly activities such as swimming pools, water parks, and age-appropriate play areas that can provide entertainment for the whole family.
Managing Health and Safety Concerns
Managing health and safety concerns is critical when traveling with a baby. Before embarking on your cruise, be sure to visit your pediatrician for a check-up and any necessary vaccinations or medications.
When on the ship, practice good hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing to prevent the spread of germs. Additionally, be sure to pack a well-stocked first aid kit that includes items such as fever reducers, band-aids, and antiseptic wipes.
In case of an emergency, familiarize yourself with the ship's medical facilities and staff. Many ships have a medical center with trained professionals who can provide medical attention if needed.
Finally, be sure to purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events. This can provide peace of mind and protect you financially in case of any unexpected circumstances. For more info on travel insurance, be sure to read my blog post on the topic, here.
In conclusion, taking a cruise with a baby can be a rewarding and memorable experience for the whole family. By planning ahead and being prepared for mealtime, activities, and health and safety concerns, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for you and your little one.
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