Cruise with Little Ones

Updated on July 07, 2010
C.A. asks from Holiday, FL
9 answers

We are taking our 2-1/2 and 4 year old on their first cruise in 2 weeks. We are going to the Bahamas. I am just wondering what I need to pack. I have one travel car seat should I bring it? How about strollers? Also wondering about beach toys for when we get to the port? Can you rent this stuff on Carnival or do you bring it? Also, My daughter still sleeps in a crib and my son in a bed with rails. Do they have pack n plays and rails? Any other info would be great. How about the Kids club? I heard they offer babysitting services after 10 for the kids to have a slumber party and the parents can go out for a couple hours. It sounds nice I'm not sure my kids would fall asleep with a bunch of other kids. Any info would help. Thanks!

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answers from Miami on

The kids program is all day and free for kids over 2. It only is paid babysitting after 10pm. They give you a beeper if they need you.

No need for a car seat but definitely take umbrella strollers. We used them all over the ship and tipped it back and rocked him to sleep by the pool when he would get tired.

Tell Carnival you need one or two pack N plays. NCL supplied one for us so Carnival should have them too.

Beach toys are ok to pack. We didn't bring any and he still had fun but good idea for next time!

Have a great time!

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answers from New York on

Definitely a stroller for the 2 1/2 yo. Have you ever been on a cruise.
No you cannot rent toys. They might have cribs but I am sure no
rails. I think you need to get on the phone. Personally, I would never
cruise with kids that young. I am assuming you do not plan on relaxing
at all. Don't mean to be a downer, but I have watched parents of little
kids on cruises and they just chase them all over the ship.If it is a short
cruise, you will all survive. Good luck.



answers from St. Cloud on

We took a cruise to the Bahamas when our daughter was 9 months (Royal Caribbean) and another cruise to Mexico when she was 3 and our son was 6 months (Carnival.) LOVED having the kids with us! A little work but I wouldn't have enjoyed it without them!

We rented a double Jeep (side-by-side) stroller from Carnival because we only brought one stroller and our carrier and we saw how nice their strollers were! I think it was $10 a day...... So, if you can BUY one before you go, I HIGHLY suggest it. We purchased the SAME stroller off Craigslist for our latest Disney vacation for $30!!! Pushes great. Folds small. Kids can get in and out themselves. We were able to push the stroller everywhere (of course not very well in the sand at the beach though....)

We did NOT bring any car seats. We only drove from the airport to the ship so it wasn't very far. We just rented seats so we didn't have the hassle of lugging them. The rooms are SMALL on the ship so there is not much storage space.

They have pack n plays available. And they have bedding for it too. Call and get one requested to it is in your room. I do NOT think they have bed rails.........

Our daughter hated Kids Club. She went 2 times for a short while each time (only because we thought she'd enjoy playing with different toys.....) and when she cried the second time we just kept her with us for the remainder of the cruise. We only left her during the day for like 15 and 20 minutes. I believe there was an age restriction on kids club. (Or perhaps a potty training one too..... Can't remember that part.) So I'm not sure that your younger child could even attend.

Bring a FEW toys. I don't think you can rent any. You really don't need much to keep the kids happy. A small pail, spoon or shovel, and a cup.

We went with family. So we would order a small breakfast up to the room and then when everyone was ready we would go eat breakfast again in the dining room! (We farm and are used to getting up early so we would be awake by 6 at the latest and everyone else wasn't ready to go eat till 8 or 8:30. EAT THE HOT BREAKFAST IN THE DINING ROOM WHERE YOU ORDER! FOOD IS WAY BETTER THAN THE BUFFET!

~Eat your scheduled supper in the dining room too. The buffet food always tasted like it had been sitting for a long time....... Plus it's so nice to be able to stay seated and have everything brought to you!

~Expect a long wait to board the ship at check-in. Carnival was HORRIBLE about this! (Although our Carnival cruise was out of California....) I think it took close to 3 hours to get through all the ropes to actually board.

~Bring a SMALL backpack of toys for each child for when you have to wait or have down time in the room.

We didn't "schedule" anything. We just did what we felt like when we got places. Very relaxing. The kids did GREAT! We got a ton of compliments on how well behaved they were. Just don't stress and enjoy!



answers from Los Angeles on

If you're going to need the car seat on the plane (if you're flying) or in taxis while in ports, then bring it. If you don't think you need it, leave it in your car. The ship can probably store it for you somewhere outside of your room if you won't need it at any time during the cruise, so it won't take up precious cabin space.
Yes, they have pack n plays or travel cribs. I don't think they have bed rails.
Kids Club is great but generally only for potty trained children ages 3+, so your little one might not be able to attend.
Stroller - bring an umbrella stroller that can fold up small if you think you'll be walking around the ports. Carnival won't rent one to you.

If you haven't already, check out - it's a great website. You can go to specialized boards for family cruising, Carnival, and the Bahamas, so you can get answers to all your questions!

Have fun.
http;// - need new toys for the trip? Check out my summer sale!!



answers from Portland on

We went on Carnival when we had one kid she was about 4. She loved kid's club and it gave us some alone time. I think they need to be potty trained, check into it, or if you're close work on it with your 2 yo.
Depending on where you are going, some spots a backpack would work better. You can't push a stroller on a beach or even some of their sidewalks.
In our room the beds for kids were like bunk beds, the pulled down from the wall. The cruise was fun with our 4 yo, we have a 2 1/2 old now and I would take her. Have a great time!!!!!



answers from Orlando on

Go to the carnival store on their website and you can purchase "bon voyage" goodie bags for your kids. They will be in the cabin waiting for you when you get there. The one we ordered for our then 4 year old had a shovel, pail, sand toy, hat and sunglasses and mini beach chair. You can also order wine or fruit to have in your cabin if you don't want to lug onboard. If you have a bunk bead, there will be a guard rail on it. A fold out couch you can cushion w/ pillows around your child. I would reserve a stroller and pack n play asap. I know stollers go quickly as they have a limited amount. our son loves the kids club and they do need to be potty trained to go in there. They have certain hours for parent/toddler play while at sea, and you can put both in after 10 p.m for a fee for the "slumber party"



answers from Minneapolis on

I see someone has already told you. Go to cruise critics site. There is soooo much information there, you will be blown away. We have only traveled Disney & RCCL with our little ones. When you decide to hope over to Disney (LOL) let me know... Have a BLAST of a Vacation!



answers from Phoenix on

I would call your cruise line to double check their accomodations for cribs/cots/roll-away beds etc. I would not pack the car seat unless you plan on renting a car or doing any site seeing in a car on a "shore" day otherwise there really isn't any purpose as they are not needed on the airplane either.

As far as a stroller, I would pack at least 1 if not 2 umbrella strollers. They are compact for flying and carrying and offer another option for both of your kids when they tucker out (you know they will). It also lets you truck through the airport faster.

Lots of sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a mesh bag for the kids to collect sea treasures in and a pail and bucket for sand play never hurts. If you plan on your kids going into the water than I would pack water wings (deflated) and then at least you have them along. I would use the cruise liners towels for the beach as they launder every day and that saves you packing A LOT.

Pack what you can as renting or purchasing things via the cruise ship or port city comes with an a la cart price:) HAVE FUN!


answers from Cincinnati on

We took our 2 children who were at the time 4 and 21 months this past winter. We took carnival and had a great time. No need for a car seat! Total waste! I had an umbrella stroller for my youngest and we used it in the ports and to walk on the long piers. When we arrived in our room and were introduced to our steward, we asked for a crib, and he brought one in right away, no extra charge for that. My 4 year old was on an "upper". It pulled out from the wall and had a rail half way down the bed and she did just great. It was like a bunk bed.

As for the beach, there was no toys so bring some sand fun, and you can rent floats, rafts, jet ski's, Etc. (One thing I would urge you to do is take some fruits and other accessible foods from the breakfast buffet before you get off the boat. We would take apples, bananas, small boxes of cereal, bottles of water with us to snack on and not have to spend tons $$$$ on land.

We didn't use kids club, but it looked great. They did all kinds of activities with the kids, and they will babysit until 3am.

Have a great time :)

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