There is cruising with kids, and there’s cruising with a baby. It’s important to realise they are two very different beasts.
For older kids cruises are a fantastic, ‘easy’ holiday option. There’s tons to do while you’re on the ship – including through the specialised kids clubs, and typically there will be playmates galore. It all adds up to an easy holiday for the adults involved.
Why cruising with a baby may not be the holiday you expect
The problem with cruising with a baby is that your child will be too young to be left in any of the kids clubs (which you may or may not want to do in any case) and, because they aren’t toilet trained, they will be unlikely to be allowed to use any of the swimming pools onboard. Hmmm. Tricky. (Some ships DO make exceptions but the rules change, so triple check the current status when booking. And in reality, this is probably less problematic with a baby than a toddler – babies don’t know what they are missing, so may not complain about missing out on a swim. A toddler? Another story.)
Now of course, if you’re travelling with a couple of co-parenting adults who aren’t expecting too much down time, or, have some willing grandparents in tow who are quite happy to watch the bub while you swim, spa or do other on-board activities, go for it. Perhaps you are willing to pay extra for ‘in cabin’ babysitting (which some ships will provide – again, double check) so you can go out at night, again, go for it.
Some cruise lines will not allow babies under one on all itineraries.
Not everyone realises that some cruise lines will not allow under 1s on all their cruise itineraries. The reason is because of a lack of neonatal medical facilities – they don’t want you stuck way out in the middle of nowhere with a sick newborn and no way to help. Typically, the itineraries you’ll typically be allowed to take a baby on are the ones which stick fairly close to a country’s shoreline.
What’s the advice experts have given us?
Advice we’ve been given by travel agents specialising in family travel – including travel agents who believe cruises are an excellent option for families with older children is this: Wait until your child is old enough to use the kids club (and ideally, the pool – which is mostly about them being toilet trained) before picking a cruise as a family holiday. After that time; cruise away.
In the meantime, roadtrip anyone?