Guide for Taking Babies and Toddlers on a Cruise

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Many of the major cruise lines have gone to great lengths to increase their appeal to all age groups, including the youngest members of the family.

From comprehensive babysitting services to age-specific activity groups – large cruise ships are packed with amenities and fully-trained staff to keep babies and toddlers content and entertained on their ships.

If you’re looking to book a holiday with your baby or toddler, we have produced this guide to help you find the perfect ship and we offer a few tips to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible.

Non Child-Friendly Cruise Lines

There are a number of cruise lines such APT Cruising and ships such as the P&O Arcadia which do not permit children under the age of 16 aboard. Whilst these are not suitable for parents of young children, they are perfect for adults looking for a relaxing holiday away from children.

Disappointed Child - Max

Baby Care Guide

All the major cruise lines have their own guidelines and policies for babies and toddlers, this simple table makes it simple to understand what to expect when booking a specific line. This information is correct at the time of writing and all the cruise lines retain a right to change their policies at any time. Be sure to check with the cruise line before booking a holiday.

Minimum AgeDay CareNight TimeBabysittingPushchairsCribsNappiesFormula Milk
Azamara Cruises*6 MonthsNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedUponRequestNotProvided     Not

Provided

Captain Cook No LimitNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvided     Not

Provided

Celebrity Cruises*6 MonthsIn-Cabin BabysitterIn-Cabin BabysitterNotProvidedUponRequestNotProvidedBaby Food
Cunard Cruises*6 MonthsGroup ChildcareGroupChildcarePre-Order RentalUponRequestNotProvidedBaby Food
MSC CruisesNo LimitNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedUponRequestNotProvided     Not

Provided

P&O Australia12 MonthsGroupChildcareGroupChildcareNotProvidedBed RailsNotProvidedIn Store
Princess Cruises*6 MonthsAge 3+Group CareAge 3+Group CareNotProvidedUponRequestNotProvided   Upon

Request

Royal Caribbean*6 MonthsIn-Cabin & Group CareIn-Cabin & Group CareNotProvidedPlaypensForPre-OrderFor Pre-Order
Silversea Cruises*6 MonthsNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvided      Not

Provided

Uniworld River4 YearsNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvidedNotProvided     Not

Provided

*12 months on selected itineraries

Cruise1st Baby-Friendly Picks

To help make the choice simpler, we have selected five cruise ships which provide fantastic facilities for babies and toddlers.

Children playing chess on a cruise ship

Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Nicholas D

Celebrity Solstice

The family-friendly cruise ship from Celebrity Cruises operates a number of age-specific childcare options and a selection of services for babies. In-cabin babysitting is available for children aged 12 months and above, so parents can enjoy a few hours to themselves and go for an elegant meal and luxurious cocktail.

Toddlers aged 3 and above can also attend lunch, dinner and slumber parties with other children of the same age – perfect for fussy eaters and sleepers.

Cunard Queen Elizabeth

Despite the art deco appearance of the ship, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is surprisingly child-friendly. Babies aged 12 months and above can enjoy the supervised nursery which is comprehensively stocked with baby toys and cribs. The children’s club on deck 10 is operated by qualified nannies and is open from 9am to midnight.

Cunard go above and beyond to make sure all members of the family are welcomed aboard, and are one of the few lines which allow pets on board.

P&O Pacific Jewel

Perfect for large families, the P&O Pacific Jewel has more than 40 daily activities designed just for kids. Food for babies and young children is available in the ship’s stores and bed rails are available for cabins to make sure the beds are baby and toddler-friendly.

P&O Australia promise to make every effort to accommodate all children with special needs, and simply request 60 days’ notice before embarkation to make the requisite preparations.

Rhapsody of the Seas

At the forefront of family cruising, Royal Caribbean provide considerable amenities for babies and toddlers aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas, including the award-winning Royal Babies and Tots program. This service targeted towards children aged 6-36 months incorporates specialist care and fun activities which can make learning fun.

Sea Princess

The Princess Cruises ship provides plenty of activities and care options for children under the age of three. The fully-trained staff can help ensure babies and toddlers are kept content and entertained throughout the holiday.

Princess - GoToVan

Image sourced via Princess Cruises press centre. Credit: Princess Cruises

Cruising with Baby Tips

From years of experience, we have managed to put together a few tips for families cruising with babies and young children.

  • Ships with 24 hour buffet services are fantastic for fussy-eating and fidgety children.
  • Balcony cabins allow you to sit outside and enjoy the sea breeze whilst keeping an eye on a sleeping child.
  • Ships with free laundry services are perfect for messy toddlers.
  • Try and pack the smallest pushchair your child fits into, saving valuable cabin space.
  • Pack an emergency kit for baby – the ship may not have all the medicines you need.
  • Avoid excursions with long bus journeys so kids don’t get cranky on a hot, uncomfortable drive.
  • Explore the ship for quiet, empty lounges and toddlers can stretch their legs and have a little explore.
  • Check the Cruise1st homepage for the best deals.

Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons and Princess Cruises Media Center. Credit: Princess Cruises, MAx Z, Nicholas D

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About Author

Lily Egge

Lily is in her mid 60’s and loves cruising. She and her partner have cruised on at least 40 cruises so far and there is much more to see. They usually travel on a balcony cabin, especially at Christmas where they celebrate on the cruise with the family. She lives in Manifold Heights in Victoria. Lily writes for Cruise 1st on a regular basis.

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