L.O. asks from Billings, MT on April 28, 2010
Cruising with an Infant
My husband and I are going on a cruise in October. The cruise is a 7 day Mexican get-away. Three of the days we will be docked in different cities in Mexico. My question is has anyone taken an infant on a cruise and do you have any helpful advice. The cruise ship offers childcare but only for children over 2, our daughter will be 16 months, so she will be with us the entire time. We are worried that we won't pack enough stuff. Any help would be great.
S.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 29, 2010
Just want to second the recommendation for an Ergo carrier for when you go walking around--it's so much nicer than hefting a stroller around everywhere.
I suspect there will be so much to see you won't need tons of toys and such.
I think it's wonderful you are keeping your baby close and creating memories. Yes, it's more labor-intensive for now, but your relationship will benefit forever. Happy cruising!
M.W. answers from St. Cloud on April 28, 2010
We've taken 2 cruises with infants. (One Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas and one Carnival to Mexico.) The first cruise our daughter was about 8 1/2 months old and the 2nd cruise our son was 6 months old. They've both gone GREAT!
They will have NO baby supplies ON BOARD so make sure to pack enough diapers, wipes, and formula (IF you are bottle feeding.) However, if need be, you can find SOME supplies at the ports. We ended up purchasing some extra diapers for our daughter in the Bahamas because we thought we were going to run out.......(We DID NOT RUN OUT!) They were more expensive that what we were used to back home.......
My milk dried up at 6 months so we were formula feeding our daughter. My husband would just go up to the cafe and get a coffee cup of hot water (they had it available 24/7 for instant coffee) and bring it to the room --or wherever we needed it-- to heat the bottle in. I nursed our son for that cruise though. (Exclusively. NO other food.) I never purchased a nursing cover and had no problems. Nobody seemed to care. I nursed him anywhere and everywhere. (Always as discreetly as possible..........) I just wear large t-shirts when I'm nursing so nobody can see anything.
You don't say how old your baby will be. HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend an ERGO baby carrier! Our son was a big baby but we used this a TON on our cruise. It is soooo much easier than lugging around a big stroller everywhere........
BRING your OWN STROLLER TOO! BUT, I do NOT recommend the kind that come with a car-seat! They are much bigger and wider than a lot of other strollers. We couldn't even fit ours into our doorway on the first cruise. We had to stop and take our daughter out and fold the stroller up to get in the room! We did have a room on an INSIDE corridor and they did seem smaller than some of the other room doorways so it may fit in some????
REQUEST a pack-n-play or crib. We had one on each cruise. I brought my own sheets with on the first cruise only to find out that they have everything you need in that aspect.
Pack your baby's clothes in separate quart size ziplocks for each day. That way it is easy to grab an extra outfit for outings and you'll always have a baggie to put soiled clothes.
A backpack makes a much better diaper bag on a cruise. Especially if you will be using a carrier at times. (Or even for just around the ship at meals and such.....)
MAKE SURE TO BUY YOUR INFANT A TICKET!!!! On our last cruise there was a couple with a baby trying to board. They never purchased their baby a "ticket" for the cruise! They just thought the baby would be free. IT IS NOT! We never did learn if they were able to go on the cruise or not..... On cruise ships, they can only hold so many people. A baby is a person and counts for a body. They are full price. (Or a slight discount since they are the 3rd person in the room.) There are NO child rates......
We had a blast on BOTH our cruises. I would NEVER go WITHOUT my kids!
Our favorite was the Royal Caribbean because it was on an older ship and was super relaxing. The Carnival was a new ship and a total "party" ship. Not our cup of tea.......
ADDITION: They DO have laundry service but it is very expensive! Our daughter pooped through onto her brand new old navy outfit my sister gave her and we were going to get it cleaned but it would have been like $15! So, bring one of the sticks that "clean" clothes and do any baby rinsing laundry in your sink!
S.H. answers from Honolulu on April 28, 2010
Well, you will have a stroller with you? And how old is she? are you nursing or is she bottle fed?
If she is under 1 year old, you still need to feed/nurse on-demand.... so have a nursing apron to nurse her wherever you are.
Next, she will need to nap. As infants nap a a lot usually. So, if she is portable... she can/will nap in the stroller... on the go. Or you will need to take her back to the cabin to nap/sleep at night.
I would check with the cruise ship... on what kind of stores/ammenities they have on-board... so that you can always buy what you may need for her. Such as diapers or diaper wipes etc.
Also, what can/cannot be brought on-board... (I don't know if their restrictions/rules are like airlines). So check on that.
Just some things I would wonder about....
all the best,
M.O. answers from Provo on April 29, 2010
We took our son on a cruise when he was 14 months old and he did fine. One other couple we went with also took their son who is a few months younger than our son and he was fine also.
The one thing a took that was a life saver was a thermos. I could put water or milk or formula in the thermos and I always had it with me. I didn't want to chance having to find water or milk off of the ship. That worried me. The other couple finally asked one day where we were getting our water or milk from. They thought it was amazing that we had thought to pack a thermos. My husband thought I was crazy when I threw it in but he changed his mind rather quickly.
We took both a back pack and a stroller. Depending on the excursions or islands we were visiting both were nice. The other couple took their stroller everywhere,even all over the ship. Their son would sit in it and eat and sleep and they very rarely had to entertain him. He has traveled a lot, so I think he was used to it. Some times the stroller was hard to use because of the different terrain.
The other couple has traveled a lot and she knew she could call the cruise line ahead of time and make special arrangements for her son. She had arranged for baby food for her son so she didn't have to pack it. You might want to call your cruise line and ask what they offer. They gave us both a crib in our rooms. It was smaller like a play pen. I packed a few toys and books and snacks that he liked. I was glad I packed the snacks because I always had something for him to eat that I knew he liked.
He was pretty interested in all his new surroundings so he had fun.
One thing I was surprised about is that your son is treated as a person on the ship, so he will have his own bill at the end of the cruise like you and your husband. They automatically added certain tips to our bill so he had a $75 tip bill at the end of the cruise.
Good luck and have fun!
J.P. answers from Boise on April 28, 2010
To add to that list, you will want to ask if the cruise has laundry service.
L.L. answers from Provo on April 29, 2010
We went on a 7 day, Mexican cruise with a 14 month old, who was crawling/cruising/beginner walker. This was not a great experience, because there is a virus particular to cruise ships that causes vomiting/diarrhea, and even though I was fastidious about washing and using hand sanitizer at every possible moment, she picked it up either on one of the outings or from the ship and passed it to me, and together we were sick. Not my favorite memory :). We went in November. We were on a very good cruise line (HollandAmerica) and the service/clean up was great, but still, it was a little tricky. Thankfully, we were with our entire extended family, so my other children and husband still got to play and go on the outings while I hung out in my room with the baby. (Actually, my oldest, who was 12 at the time, I think, had pneumonia, so she hung out with us.) We watched a lot of "Signing Time" DVDs that I had brought along. We used every toy and board book, too. I definitely do not want to discourage you, but I also want to alert you to one of the challenges of cruising. Look into it, and see what you think. My husband and I had a wonderful time about a year taking a cruise for our anniversary about 18 months later, without any children. Neither of us picked up the virus.
We also have taken a different child, about the same age, to a trip in Central America, which actually was easier, even though we couldn't drink the bathroom/shower water. I think that is was also easier on me because I wasn't worried about every surface he was touching as opposed to the cruise ship.