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Kids on Cruise
23 Aug

The ABC’s Of Cruisng With a Toddler


For Everyone Who Ever Wondered, “Can I Cruise With A Toddler?”, Here’s Your Answer

Toddler On CruiseNot only can you cruise with toddlers—you should cruise with them!  Cruise lines make it easier than ever to holiday with young children.  They supervise them, entertain them, and they do it all in the safe confines of a specialized area where you’ll always know where they’ll be.  I’ve enjoyed cruising with my toddler thanks to all sorts of cruise ship amenities. Cruise companies realize that parents of toddlers need a vacation more than anybody!

Toddler Policy
It is always best to check before booking with a cruise line as to what they define as a toddler. Different curise lines have different policies. Azamara Club Cruises, for instance,  requires that infants be more than 6 months old, and 12 months for trans-Atlantic cruises. On the other hand American Cruise Lines allow infants as young as one month old. Apart from the minimum age requirements, it is also a good idea to check what child care amenities they have on board. Some have child care centers, others simply let you bring the toddler on board and it is entirely up to you to care for them at all times.

Your Good Time Begins at Home
If you plan carefully and bring all your toddler will need for the journey, you’ll only have to unpack all that baby gear one time when you board.  You’ll be able to move from destination to destination while your stuff stays snugly aboard.  Carting around baby gear is almost enough to make you want to stay home, which is why a cruise experience is so convenient for families with toddlers.

Toddlers are Cheaper
Many cruise lines charge a discount for a toddler’s boarding pass.  Children under two can sail at a discount with major cruise lines like Disney, Princess, and Norwegian.  Be sure to ask about toddler discounts when making your travel plans.  Most of us have to budget carefully for our holiday fun and these discounts make cruising a less expensive vacation option than many other venues.

Toddler-Friendly Cruise Lines
Perhaps not surprisingly, Disney ranks among the best cruise lines for traveling with toddlers.  Not only do they boast the Flounders Reef Nursery with sitters that will care for your toddler while you swim, dance, nap or whatever (for an hourly charge of $6 per hour), but their toddler pool allows swim diapers (many pools do not allow swim diapers) and are outfitted with additional filters that make cleaning up after “accidents” a breeze.  Family-friendly features are a hallmark of the Disney experience and it’s hard to find any flaws in their toddler amenities.  They even equip all cabins with bathtubs knowing that most toddlers and small children take baths!

Carnival Cruise Lines also has a reputation for family-friendliness.  While many lines feature lots of entertainment for children, not many host activities for children under six.  Carnival’s activity program caters to kids two and up.  Carnival also boasts youth counselors who even change diapers!  Cunard and its staff of nannies is also highly reputable for toddler care.  They will also change diapers and bottle feed in their nursery for children ages 12 months and older.  When you make arrangements at least three months in advance, Holland America will even deliver supplies like diapers right to your cabin door and Celebrity Cruises offers toddler programs to potty-trained children under the age of three.

Royal Caribbean Cruises also offer award winning child care services starting from toddlers, going all the way up through 5 age groups to teenagers. They offer full nanny service whereby you can even leave the little ones on board during a short city stop. The service starts at $19 per hour for a nanny in your stateroom, and the child must be at least 12 months old

Holiday Teamwork
For your cruise to run Kids on Cruisesmoothly, be sure you and your partner have a plan that shares childcare responsibility.  Since most families don’t want to freak out their toddler by leaving him or her in the ship’s nursery overlong, it makes sense to divvy up childcare tasks.  While one person enjoys the swimming pool, the other can stroll the deck with the kids.  Then make a switch so the other parent can get some rest and relaxation time, too.

Know a Responsible Teen?
While many cruises offer private babysitters for families, it sometimes happens that they’re all booked up!  If you want to be sure you can enjoy evening entertainment alone without the kids, it might make sense for you to ask 16-year-old cousin Jenny if she’s up for a cruise-ship nanny gig.  Springing for your own sitter to come along can be a great breath of fresh air especially if you can provide the teen a good time with a fair amount of responsibility—it could be a win-win situation!

Wrap-up Tips
Cruising makes keeping to your child’s schedule pretty easy.  Port stops can be tricky, but if you research what options and attractions are kid-friendly, your stops can run quite smoothly.  Cruising with a toddler is truly enjoyable.  You’ll find that you can have more fun with your little one when you’re free from housework, cooking, shopping, and all other responsibilities of daily life—let alone your career responsibilities.  Find out all you can about each cruise ship’s offerings before you make your selection—you’re bound to find one that suits your family’s needs and promises cruising fun for all!

About The Author:  James York contributed this article on behalf of James is a freelance travel writer. He is also a father of three who enjoys taking his little ones along for the adventure. To find out more about which cruises cater for children visit


  • Angela
    08/29/2012 at 5:27 pm

    Norwegian eliminated the child fare earlier this month.

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