Family Vacation Tips

Can Babies Go On A Cruise?

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 25, 2015 7:57:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Can Babies Go On A Cruise

Absolutely!...and mom & dad can actually enjoy a fun family vacation too.

There is something for kids of all ages on board a cruise ship (and we're including all parents, siblings & grandparents in this statement too).

In addition, a cruise vacation let's you explore and visit exciting and exotic ports of call.  With some cruise lines, baby sitting can be arranged while you're in port giving mom and dad time to go sight seeing, shop, snorkel or what ever!

Do bear in mind that the cruise lines have specific rules in place regarding the age that infants are allowed on board cruise ships, just as they have rules for pregnant moms (Most cruise lines restrict pregnant moms on board during their final trimester). 

All cruise ships do have a medical unit staffed with a doctor and nurses for any medical emergencies at sea. Still they endeavor to prevent risking the health of all passengers. These rules have been established for the comfort and safety of all passengers, and the cruise lines do strictly enforce these rules. Every cruise line is different so do check with one of our Vacationkids Cruise Agents who can answer all of your questions.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE - is the winner when it comes to baby cruises. Disney Cruise Lines will allow infants as young as 12 weeks on the day of embarkation to sail on their ships. Group babysitting is available for children 12 weeks to three-years old at Flounder's Reef Nursery on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. The Disney Dream offers baby care at their ‘It's a Small World’ nursery. There is an hourly charge for this service. It is not free like the kids clubs offered on board for older children. Parents will be given a pager as the nursery staff here does not change diapers for health reasons. The ratio of care givers is 1:4 for infants and 1:6 for toddlers.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE - sets their minimum sailing age for babies at six months, with the exception of Transatlantic, Hawaii and South American Cruises which require infants to be at least one year of age. Children younger than two can play with the toys during designated family-play times in the ‘Camp Carnival’ areas, but parents must be present as all times. There are babysitting services available during limited hours for children younger than two at ‘Camp Carnival’ for an additional fee.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE - requires infants sailing on a cruise must be at least six months old as of the first day of the cruise/cruise tour. However, for Transatlantic, Transpacific, Hawaii, certain South American sailings and other selected cruises, infants must be at least 12 months old at the time of embarkation. ‘Royal Babies & Tots’ nursery program is available on certain ships and offers supervised care for little ones ages six-36 months. Daytime and evening drop-off is offered for an hourly fee. In addition, Royal Caribbean also offers scheduled interactive playgroups where little ones can come to the nursery and play while in the company of their parents.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE - Infants must be 6 years of age on the first day of sailing. If the itinerary contains 3-4 consecutive sea days then infants must be 12 months old to sail. No private or in-stateroom babysitting is available on any NCL vessel. Norwegian does offer their ‘Splash Academy for Guppies’ for six-months olds to three-year olds, with daily activities for babies, but parents must be present at all times.

MSC CRUISES – Infants must be 6 months of age to age. Group baby care is offered from 1-2pm and 6-7pm in the kids club for a fee. Playgroup time for babies is also offered in the kids club but all children must be accompanied by an adult. No in cabin babysitting is offered.

PRINCESS CRUISE LINE - has a minimum sailing age of six months. There are parent-supervised ’Under 2 Zooplay’ areas on board. After-hour group babysitting is available for a fee for kids older than two. In-cabin private babysitting is not offered.

HOLLAND AMERICA - will not accept reservations for infants less than six months of age at time of sailing. For trans-ocean crossings or other itineraries which their Medical Department feel present a significant risk, infants must be a minimum of 12 months at embarkation. No babysitting services are offered for children under the age of three or for children not yet potty trained.

CUNARD - requires children to be one year of age to sail, however, certain sailings will allow infants six months and older. They have certified British nannies on board to care for babies aged one and above in supervised nurseries with baby toys and cribs. Children must be a minimum of one year to participate in the Children’s Programs without parental supervision. On specific sailings, children between the ages of six months and one year are welcome in the Children’s Centre to play, provided they are accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times. Private babysitting is not available. However, complimentary child sitting on a group basis is available in the evenings.

Please know that the cruise lines are very strict about their age restrictions and policies towards babies. This is done for the safety and comfort of all passengers. Misrepresenting the age of your child is not allowed. At embarkation, if cruise officials check your child's passport or birth certificate and determine your baby to be under age, the infant and their guardian will NOT be allowed to board the ship. This is called ‘denied boarding’. It is not covered by any travel insurance, and you will simply forfeit the cost of your cruise.

Parents using nursery services at sea will find that there are a few standard procedures:

Registration and initial paperwork will need to be filled out on the first day of your cruise giving details of your child’s preferences and any special care or dietary needs.

  • Parents will be familiarized with the rules and procedures of the facility. 
  • Liability waivers will also need to be signed in accordance with the rules.
  • Parents must also bring all necessary gear with them including food, formula, diapers, wipes, sunscreen and changes of clothing. These items are not provided for your baby while in the nursery.    
Our Vacationkids cruise agents can help you make sure you and your baby have everything you need on hand so that you can enjoy a fun, worry free vacation. If you've never worked with a travel agent before, find out more of what our staff can do for you.

Topics: Family Cruises, Baby Vacations, Toddler Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Vacationkids.com Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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