Any type of traveling with a baby can be a bit of an unknown. I still remember Michael’s first flight to Washington state when he was 3 months old. Although I have been on about 12 cruises in the past, bringing Michael on a cruise was giving me major anxiety. When I shared on Instagram that we would be going on a Royal Caribbean cruise, I received quite a few questions regarding going on a cruise with a baby. Many of you have considered taking your family on a cruise, but weren’t quite sure if it is worth it with kids.
To be honest with you, the first two days were not the best days of our trip. The only way I can describe it is feeling “trapped.” There was no where for Michael to run in our small room, he couldn’t swim in the pool (more on that below), and I didn’t know where to let him get his energy out on the ship. It was hot, humid, and I had a cranky baby (and husband.) Well, despite the first two days, we ended up figuring things out and having a blast.
I decided to make a list of all of the tips I gathered throughout our week long cruise to provide you with some good travel tips. I am sharing these in hopes that you can enjoy your cruise with a baby from day one of your adventures!
Travel Tips: How to Cruise with a Baby
Take advantage of the kids clubs
I am lucky enough to work from home, so we have never left Michael alone with anyone other than family. After two days of feeling a little “trapped,” we decided to look into the kids program. I was extremely iffy about leaving him with someone I didn’t know, so we took a tour, learned about pricing, and felt everything out. After checking it all out we decided we would give it a try. We were desperate for a date night and Michael was desperate for a place to actually roam free. I loved that they provide a walkie talkie incase they need anything from you. There are little peep holes to check and see how your little one is doing. We snuck over and peeked a couple times to see if he was having fun! One night they called us because he was crying, which I really liked. I never had to wonder if he was doing ok or if he needed anything!
Upgrade your room
I cannot stress this enough. If you are wondering if it’s worth the money, it is. As soon as we saw our room we contacted guest services about upgrading. I didn’t care what the price was, but unfortunately there were no upgrades available. If your little one likes to roam around, you will all be much happier in a slightly bigger room. My parents were in a suite, and we would occasionally let Michael play in there. It was like he was a different child in their room compared to ours. (He was so much happier running around in their room.)
Pack a Portable High Chair
These are an absolute life saver on land or at sea. We keep ours in our car at all times. The wood high chairs drive me a little bit crazy because he can squirm out of them. Whether we’re headed to a family members house, a restaurant, or a vacation, this high chair always comes with us. (I ordered a few different brands and we loved this style the best out of all 3!) It folds flat, has a removable cover, and will attach to tables up to 3.5″ thick.
Know the pool rules
My parents are actually the ones who booked our cruise. (Every once in a while we do a family vacation as our Christmas present.) I’m not sure if somewhere in the fine print it states the pool rules, but I wasn’t aware of them. Although there is a huge kids area, Michael was only allowed in one tiny little corner. He couldn’t step foot in the pools.. not even the 1 foot kiddie pool. If they wear a diaper or aren’t 100% potty trained, they aren’t allowed in. Now imagine my frustrations as I had no idea this was an actual rule. I had envisioned a cruise with a baby full of trips to the pool to cool off, but the only area we could hang out at was a tiny little baby splash pad packed with big kids. (After doing some research, we realized that this is not a unique rule to Royal Caribbean.)
Spray sunscreen over the others
I have to say, the spray sunscreen was the way to go for us! (We bought this double pack of 70 SPF.) I was debating including this as a travel topic, but a few parents mentioned they wished they had brought this! It is so much easier to apply when you have a little one who is trying to run away! Plus, it doesn’t make them look pasty white, which makes for better photos. 🙂
Traveling with Family
If you are lucky enough to travel with family, let them help. If you’ve got your hands full of beach bags, diaper bags, camera bags, a child, etc., don’t be afraid to hand some things over. I feel like it’s easy to spot a mom who needs help when you are in a similar situation, but sometimes people just assume you’re fine. Let them play with the baby while you go on a date night. It was actually one of my parents favorite nights on the cruise, and they were still able to go out after we picked him up! We all know those times when you really just want to relax in the sun for a few minutes, but it’s not really realistic with a child. My parents would get their sun time in earlier, and then sometimes take Michael inside when they needed a break and he needed a nap. It was so nice to be able to peacefully lay out with our eyes closed.
We decided to leave the milk at home and worry about it once we were on the ship. Every night we would head over to the dessert station of the buffet, and ask for some milk. We would get 2, and stick them in the fridge for when we needed them next.
Small Umbrella Stroller
We have a few strollers at home, including this travel stroller. Since we had to travel to Houston, we used our nice stroller that attaches to the car seat. I didn’t want to drag another stroller through the airport, so we had this cheap umbrella stroller delivered to Houston. A few parents brought their nice, big, everyday strollers, and it did not look fun. I hoped that they had a suite for that thing, because my big stroller surely wouldn’t fit in our room. Maneuvering in and out of crowds with your big stroller can be difficult. Between boarding day, strolls near the pool, and slim hallways to your room, I was SO glad we went with this stroller. It was actually really nice quality for the price.
Will a Crib or Play Pen Fit?
Find out if a crib will fit in your room. We requested our crib (play pen) before the trip, but we had to have a coffee table and chair removed from our room for it to actually fit. They normally do not perform requests like that, so we had to stop at guest services and explain the issue.
Play Room with Parents
We found out there was actually a small play room during the day for little kids. (Ours was near the arcade.) This was a separate area where parents can take their children to play with toys and run around. This makes going on a cruise with a baby so much easier! No need to pack up bulky toys. Check the times for the play room, because at around 4 or 5 pm it turns into a teenagers club.
Let Your Waiters Help
Our wait staff was so sweet. Our head and assistant waiter both have little one’s at home that they were missing, so they made sure to spoil Michael. They set up a little fruit plate for Michael every night, so he was a happy camper as soon as he sat down. They always brought his kids meal out before ours to keep him happy and occupied. He even had a little baby scoop of ice cream most nights while we were enjoying our dinner.
Take Advantage of the Ports
Our ship, Liberty of the Seas, stopped in Grand Cayman, Falmouth Jamaica, and Cozumel. Although I had been to all three places, I was very careful about what we chose to do at each port. Like I said, doing new things, like your baby to a new country for the first time, can be a little nerve-wracking.
I tried to really let Michael wear himself out at the ports. He ran up and down the beach, played with us in the water, and made as much noise as he wanted. This made a much more peaceful day once we were back on the ship.
We decided not to take him off the ship in Jamaica, so he stayed with my parents. The actual cruise port was extremely nice, but it’s not the best area outside of the beautifully staged entrance.
All in all, we loved our time on the Liberty of the Seas. We have cruised many times, and absolutely love Royal Caribbean.