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Cruising with Toddlers

Updated: Jan 26

Any vacation with toddlers can be a little overwhelming. Toddlers have specific sleep schedules, eating schedules and sometimes tantrums (no matter how much we try to avoid them, they do happen). Cruising with toddlers can seem overwhelming but with proper planning cruises can be extremely fun with the little ones!

What age can a baby/toddler cruise?

You might be wondering, how old does a child have to be to sail? Infants must be at least 6 months of age at the time of embarkation in order to sail and at least 12 months of age at the time of embarkation to sail on trans-ocean crossings and remote itineraries, where there are more than 2 consecutive sea days. Children must be 8-10 years old (depending on cruise line) to sail on an Antarctic or Galapagos cruise.

What do I need to pack with a baby/toddler?

Children need a lot of things, some things are available on-board, but some helpful items I'm glad I brought include:

  • Sunscreen

  • Diapers (can be bought on-board but are more expensive than at your local store)

  • Baby wipes

  • Sippy cups or water bottles

  • Infant medicine (Tylenol or Motrin)

  • Snacks (there is lots of food on-board but bringing some of your child's go-to favorite snacks is very useful especially for day 1 of the cruise & when you visit ports)

  • Nightlight (especially if you book an interior cabin, the cabin will get very dark)

  • Sound machine

  • Few books/toys

  • Formula (if needed)

What type of cabin should I book?

The first time we took our twins on a cruise there were five of us; my husband, my husband's grandpa, my twins (two at the time) and myself. We were looking for the cheapest way to cruise because it was a last minute trip. We booked an interior room that fits five (some cruise lines are attuned to larger families and offer accommodations that can sleep five). Our cabin was surprisingly spacious (for cruise cabins). We had two pull-down bunks and two twin size beds separated.

With my twins being so little the plan was for one to sleep with my husband and one to sleep with me, however they both ended up sleeping with me (they are like my little shadows). Having our beds arranged this way allowed more space in the middle of the cabin for the kids to play and move around while the adults would get ready in the morning. If you are needing a little extra space, some cruise lines do offer premier interior cabins, that have extra space and you can always get an Oceanview or Balcony cabin. We have had a balcony cabin and it is very spacious, however, my twins are very rambunctious and my son loves to climb, so I was not chancing a balcony with him.

What activities can you do with toddlers?

Cruise lines are very accommodating to families and children. The first thing to look at when planning a cruise is the ship. Every ship is different and you want to make sure the ship offers things for your child/children to do. My twins absolutely loved the Aquanauts Room on-board the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas! They constantly asked to go back. They had so much fun playing with other kids their age, doing arts & crafts, learning about sea creatures and playing with balloons and toys. This was also a great time for my husband and I to enjoy the larger waterslides on-board, the escape room and some other amenities our kids were too young for.

Below is a list of some activities available for toddlers.

Activities vary by ship and cruise line.

Ages 6 months - 36 months

  • Babies & Tots Program (nursery drop-off) - fees may apply

  • Late Night babysitting - fees apply

  • Kiddie pool - designated area for babies & kids in swim diapers

  • Family Library

Ages 3 years - 5 years

  • Youth Program Room

  • Mini Golf

  • Movie theater

  • Ice Skating

  • Splash Pad & Water Slides - height requirements vary

  • Bumper Cars - height requirements vary

  • Family Library

  • Trampolines - fees apply

  • Pools

  • Arcades - fees apply

Dining with toddlers

Not everything goes as planned. We didn't make it through every meal. And that's ok! Our daughter was always great. She loved the attention, getting dressed up and eating in a "fancy" dining hall. My son, exerted all his energy every day at the beach or pool. He would fall asleep almost every day at the table before the food even arrived. The picture to the left was the first night, the waiter brought him a cookie because he was celebrating his 4th birthday on-board. As you can see, he fell asleep eating!

The great thing about cruising is there is food almost everywhere! We could stop for a slice of pizza or a sandwich whenever the kids were hungry.

I believe kids make a vacation better! You get to watch them explore the world for the first time. If you are looking to plan a family vacation fill out my quotes page and let me help you get started on your next dream vacation!



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