Cruise Travel with Babies Tips

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Can you tell me if the Disney cruises are worth taking a baby on?

Go Disney – On A Cruise

Many parents can't wait to take their baby or toddler on a trip to an amusement park. We think theme parks are great ideas for family vacations. But until babies are older, they're really for parent's enjoyment. One alternative to visiting Mickey at the theme park is to go on a Disney Cruise. Granted, you could be paying a grand more than you would on other ships for a week long cruise, but the level of service and amenities on Disney Cruise ships keep it booked solid, according to an article in a recent Frommers newsletter. Disney cruises have virtually something for every parent, from a 3 night Bahamas cruise to 14 night Transatlantic journey that'll take you to Spain.

These are just a few of the features you can expect to get when you sail with Mickey:

  • Art Deco Style cabins that give you some of the largest square footage around. Their outside cabins boast 214 square feet of space while you'd be lucky to get 200 square feet of space on another cruise line's comparable cabin.
  • Toddlers under three years old can go with a parent to play on a jumble sized pirate ship.
  • Ships have a shallow pool area for toddlers and babies in swim diapers while other cruise lines do not.
  • Everyone gets to experience life sized Disney characters on board like Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy
  • Themed family friendly restaurants, including one modeled after a parrot jungle.
  • Separate entertainment just for grown-ups such as a comedy club and piano bar.
  • Disney character musical productions the whole family can enjoy.
  • Shorefront drop off to a private island for Disney cruise ship patrons.

What will I need to bring with me for a cruise with my baby?

Diapers And Other Cruise Pack List Essentials

Unlike a road trip or even a plane trip to a metropolitan vacation
spot, cruising with babies presents a unique situation. Though you'll
be making pit stops at ports of call, you'll be sailing through a great
portion of your trip. Access to baby essentials can be rather limited.
Especially if you pick a destination where your ports of call consist
mainly of gorgeous scenery and meandering wildlife. Besides the usual
items of clothing, travel documents, and prescription medications,
there are some things you don't want to assume you'll have access to.
Keep in mind this pack list of baby essentials so that you're not left
without the things you need.

  • Baby Food – If your infant is on solids, don't expect the ship to provide this for you.
  • Formula
    – Consider the liquid version if your baby drinks it. Otherwise you'll
    end up paying for pricey bottles of water to mix the formula.
  • Disposable Bibs – They're so easy to pack, take up little space, and makes feeding time easier.
  • Diapers – Pack enough for the cruise and several days extra. Enough said.
  • Diaper Wipes and Diaper Rash Cream – Bring a few travel sizes to save space.
  • Large Plastic Bags – It makes disposing dirty diaper much easier and pleasant.

How can I make going on a cruise with my baby go more smoothly?

Smooth Sailing On A Cruise With Baby

Like any other adventure with an infant in tow, sailing the high seas requires a bit of planning and open-mind to make the trip go smoothly. For those who are a bit weary of getting their sea legs, read our guide to cruising with baby.

  • Choose your destination wisely. Don't pick a cruise to Antarctica with baby just because you've been dying to go. Consider a warm weather or tropical location like the Caribbean or Hawaii. Then book your cruise with a line that is family friendly. The last thing you want to do is end up on the party cruise when you're trying to settle into a family vacation.
  • When you book, find out what amenities your room will have. Many cruise cabins come with mini fridges so you can store all of baby's food and milk. Also inquire about portable cribs. Your cruise line should be able to supply you with one.
  • One way to create a sleep environment for baby that allows you free reign to enjoy some down time is with a suite. But since that can upgrade the cost of your cruise by a grand or more, try going with cruise ships with decent size cabins. Disney has a generous sized cabins if you're contemplating a cruise to the Bahamas or Caribbean. Book a room too small and you'll end up having to remove some furniture to accommodate a crib.
  • Use the babysitting services or arrange to switch off with your spouse, a friend, or family member. You'll need some time to enjoy the on-board activities, ports of call, and shore excursions.
  • Bring a stroller and take a walk around on deck. It's a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy the scenery, and relax. If your infant will take a nap, bring a book or magazine.
  • On a cruise, like any trip, you should remember to be flexible. Though booking every shore excursion you can squeeze in might work for singles and childless parents. With baby in tow, you might want to skip most and just try a few.

What are some of the best cruise lines for infants?

Best Cruise Lines For Bringing Baby On Board

Wondering what the top baby-friendly cruises are? Not all cruise ships are best for families and baby. But we've done a little research on which ones are a little more family friendly. Here's the scoop:

  • Most cruise ships have individual babysitting available, including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Crystal, and Radisson Seven Seas. You'll need to check with the cruise ship, but often babies from 6 months and up have childcare in place.
  • Group childcare is available with Disney, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, and Cunard cruises.
  • One thing to remember is that although babysitting may be available, activity programs start at 2 or even 3 years of age for young children. Carnival and Norwegian are two cruise lines that have programs that start at age 2.
  • Royal Caribbean has teamed up with Fisher Price toys to create a playgroup for parents and infants who are from 6 months to three years.
  • Princess Cruises has a play area that's great for tots and open to babies – parent supervision required.
  • Cunard's playroom has a ball bin and doubles as a nursery.

Are cruises good trips for infants?

Baby Let's Cruise

These days, many parents think of heading on a cruise when planning for a family trip. According to a 2004 article on, it's not uncommon for there to be from 30 to 40 infants sailing on a cruise ship. Cruises can sail for as short as three days or as long as over two weeks. You can also choose from destinations around the world from the islands of the Caribbean or countries in Far East. Are they really great getaways for families with infants? We think so. Here's why:

  • It's a self-contained journey which makes it easier to access what you need to care for infants.
  • You get meals, drinks, and accommodations provided for you.
  • Individual and group babysitting is available on some cruise lines. You'll need to check with the cruise ship, but often babies from 6 months and up have childcare in place.
  • You can do the shore excursions or not. Sometimes a stroll around the port area is fine.
  • There are plenty of on-board activities for Mom, Dad, and kids who are at least two to three years old.

Do you recommend a cruise to Hawaii with an infant?

Island Hopping Hawaii Cruise

You could fly to Maui, spend a week at a vacation condo, and hang out at the beach with your infant. It's a nice, relaxing way to spend a week, but if you're keen on doing and seeing more, try flying to Hawaii and then island hop. Norwegian cruise lines, which has a big hold on the Hawaiian cruise market, has a number of 7, 10, and 11-day vacation packages allowing you to explore the beauty of Hawaii, one island at a time. Choose from round trip cruises throughout the year from Honolulu or Maui.

Want to know what you'd be in for? One sample 7-day itinerary takes you from Maui to Honolulu, Kauai, Hilo, and Kona before returning to Maui. Moms and Dads, take your pick. You get to spend a full day at most of the ports to explore at your leisure or choose from shore excursions that allow you to enjoy Hawaii's culture. We think it's a great way to see more of Hawaii with the flexibility to take a breather with your infant.

Are Europe cruises a good vacation to take my baby?

Sail Away, Sail Away – To Europe

Going on a trip to Europe with baby once meant hopping on a long plane
flight, booking a hotel, and trekking around with baby in a backpack.
These days, the travel industry says cruising to Europe is
gaining in popularity. We can see why. You have the option to take a
shorter flight to the embarking port. Enjoy a leisurely cruise across
the Atlantic Ocean on a self contained ship that feeds you, entertains
you, and otherwise keeps you occupied with activities while you get
ready to explore at different ports of call. If you live in Fort
Lauderdale, you're in luck - a good number of ships depart from here to
set sail on a European cruise. To give you an idea of some possible
itineraries, we've listed a few cruises for the 2007 season.

If you've got quite a bit of time, Princess Cruises has a 17-day voyage
departing in early May which takes you from Fort Lauderdale to stops at
nine ports of call. You'll first stop off at Azores Islands. From there
stop at Lisbon, Portugal, in Vigo, Spain, in Paris, France, in London,
England, in Brussels, Belgium, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in Oslo,
Norway, and finish the cruise in Copenhagen, Denmark.

If you're looking for a shorter cruise, try one with a more specific itinerary and fly directly to a port of call in Europe. Carnival Cruises will take you on a 12-day cruise from Rome, Italy. From there stop in Naples, Italy, in Rhodes, Greece, in Izmir, Turkey, in Istanbul, Turkey, in Athens, Greece, in Katakolon, Greece, in Livorno, Italy, and then return to Rome, Italy.

If you want something a little more upscale, go with Cunard
Cruises. You can go on a cruise as long as 22 days (perhaps best left
for a time when baby is all grown up) or for as brief as a 4-day cruise.
For summer 2007, you can visit Europe with a sampler cruise and begin
your journey in Southhampton, England. From there make a pit-stop in
Hamburg, Germany before you make the two day trip back to Southhampton.

Which rooms on a cruise ship are the nicest?

Your Cruise Upgrade Wishlist

If you're not against spending a few hundred dollars or more, there are some upgrades you can ask for when you book a cruise with baby. The least expensive rooms are inside cabins with no view. Next up on the expense list are outside cabins on a cruise ship. It's always nice to have a view, but if you're going to splurge, we'd go for a room with a view – and some fresh air. Cabins with decks let you go outside and enjoy the view. Choose one of these if you're sailing on a scenic cruise. For those who want it all – a view, a deck, a little space from baby, and room for her to roam, get a suite or mini suite. It's great if you want to hang out at the cabin, but don't want to disturb your little one's naps.

So how much does it all cost? It'll vary based on factors like when you travel, which cruise line you choose, and your destination, but to give you an idea of just how much you'll pay for cabin upgrades, here's a sample price list for 2007.

For a 7-day round trip cruise on Norwegian in April:
Inside Cabin - $599
Oceanview – $699
Balcony – $1049
Suite - $1249

Helpful Hint: Not all cruise lines and ships are built alike. Compare different cruise lines to see which ship in which line has the kind of cabin you're interested in, in addition to the itinerary you want. For instance, the Emerald Princess of Princess cruises has a suite and a mini suite. The Norwegian Star of Norwegian Cruises only has a suite option.

What are some activities I can do with my baby at the beach?

Six Beach Activities To Keep You And Little Ones Entertained

Besides the calming sounds of lapping waves hitting the shore and enjoying the warmth of a sun-kissed day, there are a few other reasons we enjoy beach vacations with infants. Beaches come built-in as outdoor entertainment centers for little ones. Besides you, and a good dose of sun block, there's not much else a young child needs to keep her occupied at the beach. Still we've put together a few ways you can enjoy your time at the beach with baby.

  1. Create your own mini moat by digging a trench in the sand and adding water. Make sure you keep baby supervised at all times.
  2. Build your own sandcastle tower and let your tot be the bulldozer.
  3. Camp out on a beach towel under an umbrella and bring along a few baby toys for play. The view of the ocean and folks passing by will be enough to keep older infants and toddlers entertained.
  4. Pull out the jogging stroller and take your little one for a run along the waves. It's one ride that just might lull her to sleep.
  5. Take out the baby carrier and go for a stroll along the sand. You can enjoy the cool breeze and baby gets to enjoy the ride.
  6. For toddlers and older babies, toss a beach ball along the edge of the water. We bet just watching the waves come in will be entertainment enough.

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Guru Spotlight
Christina Chan
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