Are you wondering if a family cruise vacation may be a good option for your next family vacation? If you have kids, of all ages, even babies or toddler, a family cruise vacation may be a great option for you. First you will need to select the best family cruise line and ship to meet your needs.
If you are travelling with babies or toddlers, you may need to work out some details but a family cruise vacation can be a very rewarding way to spend your family vacation!
Selecting the best Cruise Line and Ship for Your Family Cruise Vacation
Minimum age policies vary considerably from one cruise line to another. Most cruise lines will not accept infants age 12 weeks or younger and some will only accept infants six months and older. Carnival’s policy is for example is that they accept infants at four months and older.
On other cruise lines, the minimum age restrictions vary by cruise itinerary. You will need to check with each cruise line to determine their policy on infants.
As for finding kid cruise programs that accept infants, most cruise lines with youth facilities accept children starting at age two or three and ones accepting infants are harder to find. Disney has a fleet-wide nursery for infants and toddlers from 12 weeks to three years old. Cunard also offers fully-equipped nurseries for parents and their infants. Parental presence may be required with some ships.
Selecting Your Cabin
Carnival and Disney ships tend to have some of the largest cabins that are most family friendly, particularly if you need to set up a crib. Cruise Lines where staterooms are not roomy to begin with, can be problematic when adding extra baby stuff to them. Consider upgrading to a family cabin or suite to give you that extra room for your family cruise vacation, sometimes the cost is not that much more.
Another option you may want to consider is a cabin with a balcony. It will give you some privacy and is great for going out to read a book during the day while the baby is napping or enjoying the moonlight as it shimmers off the ocean at night once the little one is asleep.
Also keep in mind that most standard staterooms aboard most cruise lines provide bathrooms with stand up showers and not bathtubs. If you would rather bathe your infant in a bathtub, you will need to upgrade to a stateroom offering this feature.
Will There Be Baby-sitting?
Most cruise lines offer baby-sitting services but rates, availability and other restrictions can vary. Some cruise lines have staff trained in childcare and others may use their regular staff to fill in. Be sure to ask your agent to check the specifics with the cruise line of your choice. It is also a good idea to reserve as soon as you board to avoid any problems on your family cruise vacation.
If you can swing it, travelling with other family members – grandparents, aunts, uncles or even your nanny – is a foolproof way to get some alone time in for you.
What About Cribs, Strollers, Diapers and Formula?
Two-way baby monitoring devices, cribs, strollers, disposable diapers, baby formula, and other infant needs are often available shipboard and/or through advance notice. You should confirm the availability of cribs aboard the ship of your choice and request the crib ahead of time.
Some of the cruise lines have strollers available, however, it’s best to bring your own lightweight umbrella stroller as it will come in handy at the airport too.
If there’s anything specific your baby needs, make sure you bring plenty of it with you. You may not find the particular diaper or formula you usually use. You will probably find that the restaurant staff will gladly have the chef puree vegetables or fruit for your baby, but it is still good to bring other essentials with you.
Another great option to lugging everything with you is to have it all waiting for you when you arrive with Babies Travel Lite.
What about Shore Excursions?
You will have to decide on these based on the excursion, the age of your baby and what is best for everyone. You always have the choice of exploring on your own and visiting a local beach, the local town or spending the day at a local family-friendly resort. The purser’s office on your family cruise vacation, should have recommendations of local hotels which allow guests to visit for the day.
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