Blog carnival cruise cruise Family Travel

The Best Tips for an Awesome Trip

Posts on Clarks Condensed include affiliate links, which I earn a small commission from. These are offered for your convenience, and the worth isn’t increased at all.

Share your favorite posts

Are you contemplating cruising with a toddler? Then you’re in the proper place! This publish provides you all the information, tips and recommendation it’s worthwhile to have a profitable and memorable cruise with a toddler!

Cruising with Toddlers on Carnival

Once we first decided to go on a cruise, there was no question that we might be taking our youngsters.

I know a lot of people think of a cruise as a romantic getaway – and it totally might be! Nevertheless, the more we appeared into it, the more good it appeared for a household vacation.

The cruise we went on last summer time turned out to be one in every of our most fun and memorable journeys but, and it’s one our boys still speak about.

There are plenty of ideas on the market for cruising with youngsters, but in this publish, I needed to focus specifically on cruising with a toddler!

While we did do our cruise with Carnival – and my experience in this publish will certainly be geared toward that – I have tried to share recommendation that can be relevant no matter what cruise line you go on!

Additionally, be sure you download our FREE cruise planning printables under – you will also get our greatest ideas for having the BEST cruise ever!

Cruising with Youngsters

Should You Take Your Toddler on a Cruise?

Nicely, in case you read my introduction, you’ll in all probability know my reply to this.


I mean, in case you are wanting for a couples getaway, then perhaps it won’t be the most effective time to take your toddler.

However in case you are wanting for a fun, family vacation – having a toddler shouldn’t maintain you back.

We discovered that the employees on the cruise LOVED our youngsters – they usually beloved interacting with them. Lots of them have youngsters that they don’t see very often because of the demanding nature of a cruise employee way of life. So it was a nice reminder for them at residence.

The most necessary factor is to do your research! Speak together with your journey agent beforehand concerning the measurement of stateroom out there, childcare (which I’ll talk about under), if any staterooms have bathtubs, and so forth.

Ensure you ebook with Get Away Immediately – they may be capable of answer ALL of these questions (and more) for you.

Hopefully, by the top of this publish, you will really feel more excited and assured about taking your kiddo on a cruise!

Child Pleasant Cruise Strains

While all cruise strains are adult-friendly, not all are kid-friendly.

And a few are better suited for teenagers versus youthful youngsters (and vice versa).

I’ve already talked about choosing your good cruise itinerary, however it’s essential to ensure a cruise line is going to be well-suited for your loved ones earlier than reserving with it.

From what I’ve learn, these are probably the most kid-friendly cruise strains:

  • Disney Cruise Strains
  • Carnival Cruise Strains
  • Royal Caribbean

I typically see Royal Caribbean having a “Kids Sail Free” promotion, which may make it even more reasonably priced to cruise with them.

We had an excellent expertise with Carnival Cruise strains and our toddler, so I extremely advocate them.

Regardless, I might strongly advocate booking your cruise by way of Get Away As we speak. They made the method SO straightforward, and they are great at answering questions. They are all the time providing great offers and promotions for cruises, and they are all about household vacation planning. HIGHLY advocate.


Most cruise strains have some sort of childcare – and above a sure age, it’s often included together with your fare.

Nevertheless, the age limits might differ. The essential purpose we chose Carnival was that Oliver was two. Most cruise strains we checked had free childcare for three and up, but you needed to pay additional for beneath three.

Nevertheless, Carnival was free for two and up! For that cause alone, we have been bought on the Carnival Cruise line.

Right here is an overview of the childcare choices for totally different cruises for youngsters which are of toddler age (12-36 months).


Youngsters 2 and up are invited to take part in “Camp Ocean”, which is included with their fare. For youngsters 2-5, they are within the “Penguins” group, which was separate from the older youngsters on the ship we have been on.

Additionally they DON’T have to be potty educated – many cruise strains do require potty training to be left in the free childcare.

They have a bunch of age-appropriate activities, employees will serve your youngsters meals, and so on. They often combine with the older youngsters, so if in case you have an older baby, they’ll have the ability to do activities with them sometimes.

You’re given a cellphone for the period of your trip whenever you verify in, which is their approach of contacting you if they need you.

They provide you a document whenever you check-in that shares all the occasions it’s open, totally different activities, and meal occasions.

You possibly can study extra about Camp Ocean here.

For youngsters underneath 2, there isn’t a nursery setup like a number of the other cruise strains. Nevertheless, there are specific occasions that youngsters six months and up are welcome in Camp Ocean:

  • Sea Days: There are restricted occasions throughout the cruise for ‘Under 2′ time. Check onboard for specific times offered. Parents have the option of leaving their child in the care of the Youth Staff (fees apply: $6.75 USD per hour plus an 18% gratuity, per child) – or – they can stay and use the Camp Ocean facility at no charge. This time is designated for the use of ‘Under 2’s’ and their mother and father solely.
  • Port Days: While in port, mother and father have the option of leaving their baby within the care of the Youth Employees (charges apply: $6.75 USD per hour plus a 18% gratuity, per baby), nevertheless, we don’t present meal occasions for any youngsters Beneath 2.
  • Evenings: Night time Owls (babysitting fees apply: $6.75 USD per hour plus an 18% gratuity, per baby). From 10:00pm-1: 00 am every night in the Camp Ocean facility, a ‘slumber party’ sort environment, together with film time, toys and room service snacks. During this time, there shall be youngsters from different age groups (2-11 years) collaborating in Night time Owls. Cribs are available if needed.

Disney Cruise Line

For youngsters six months to 3 years, you’ll be able to put your baby in the nursery (on most Disney ships it’s referred to as “it’s a small world” nursery).

Area is restricted, so it would be best to make your reservation as far prematurely as you’ll be able to.

That is NOT included together with your fare. The prices are:

  • $four.50 per half hour for the first youngster
  • $4.00 per half hour for any further youngsters in your family

The employees is educated to feed and change your baby, and you’re welcome to deliver diapers/wipes, clothes, blankets, and pacifiers.

Royal Caribbean

For youngsters 6-36 months, there’s the “Royal Babies and Royal Tots” program.

There are smooth play areas, sleeping areas, and toys applicable for this age, and you may drop and decide up your youngster for the hourly fee of

Not all Royal Caribbean ships supply this, so ensure you ebook one that does!

There’s additionally an open play space that oldsters can come with their youngsters through the day to play. It’s unsupervised, but it may be a nice place to return and play that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the cruise ships.

Ensure you take a look at what sort of activities are available and what individuals usually assume.

Truthfully, we wish we had taken benefit of the Carnival child’s golf equipment more. Our youngsters just went a couple of occasions, but that they had a lot fun.

There were numerous fun activities for the youngsters, and I’m positive they might have enjoyed it greater than a few of the things we introduced them to. Oliver LOVED the toddler middle – the employees was so fun.

Most cruises do you permit you to depart your youngster with the child clubs when you go off the ship, however there’s a variety of debate online about whether or not or not you need to truly do that. Undoubtedly, do your research to determine what’s greatest for your family!

Swimming pools and Splash Areas

One thing to remember is that youngsters who are usually not potty educated are usually not allowed to be in any public pool or splash space.

There isn’t a exception to this – even when they’re sporting a swim diaper. I saw some youngsters who have been clearly not potty educated splashing within the water – you are not the exception! Don’t do that!

This is type of a bummer, nevertheless it’s for security and sanitation causes. So when you’ve got a toddler who is going to throw a match once they can’t go into


I’ve talked so much about Carnival Cruise Food, and I did discover it very family-friendly.

We felt like the “Anytime Dining” was the best choice for our household so we didn’t feel rushed, didn’t should interrupt naps, and so forth.

We have been additionally sat by ourselves, so we didn’t have to fret about our youngsters disrupting somebody at our table’s meal.

I’m unsure if that is an choice out there on all cruises, so I might double examine the eating options together with your cruise line.

Listed here are a number of common ideas:

  • When eating in the eating room, ask for the kid’s meals to return out first. Otherwise, it’d take a while for them to get their food, and it’s good to have their food out as quickly as attainable.
  • Carnival Cruise ships have booster seats and excessive chairs obtainable upon request
  • The child’s meals may be big! One of many sides was pasta, which Jack ordered one night time, and it was virtually greater than the entree.
  • Carnival didn’t have mac and cheese listed on their kid’s menu, but they undoubtedly had it! I truly thought it was actually delicious, as did my boys.
  • Convey your personal sippy cups! Oliver was given a large, glass cup crammed to the brim with water, and I was shocked that we didn’t have extra water catastrophes than we did!
  • Embrace the treats – I imply, you don’t should let your kid have 5 plates of desserts…however perhaps be somewhat more lax than you’d at residence – especially for the 24/7 mushy serve!

There are a number of fast service areas which are obtainable on cruises, which could be a better choice in case you have a wiggly toddler that doesn’t need to sit for an hour.

The buffet often serves comparable meals to what is being provided within the dining room. Pizza and sandwiches are virtually all the time out there, and in case you are wanting for an straightforward morning – order room service!

As I mentioned, with the Carnival Cruise Line, in case your baby is at Club Ocean during meals, they’ll eat with the opposite youngsters! So in case you are wanting for a romantic dinner together with your partner, this could be a good factor to do sooner or later.


Oliver often slept in my mattress anyhow earlier than we went on the cruise, so that’s what he did on our cruise.

Nevertheless, if your baby often sleeps in a crib, you possibly can request one to be put into your stateroom earlier than the cruise begins.

You’ll be able to all the time deliver alongside a pack-and-play, but that’s just one other piece of bags you must fear about!


Ahh, naps all the time appear to be onerous to navigate when touring.

Even if your toddler isn’t taking naps anymore, I might attempt to plan on at the very least one. Oliver had give up taking naps a couple of months earlier than our cruise, however he crashed midday virtually day-after-day on the cruise.

Making sure your toddler takes a nap can forestall some nasty meltdowns afterward.

I might advocate both bringing a white noise machine or downloading white noise onto your telephone. We have been near the engine, which was actually loud and sort of scared Oliver. Having white noise drowned that out slightly bit.

In case you are in an interior room, they will get especially darkish. So in case your kiddo will get scared within the pitch darkish, be sure to deliver alongside a night mild.

Length of Cruise

A 3-5 day cruise is probably going to be greatest for a household cruising with a small baby.

We went on a 5-day cruise, and I feel it was good. Oliver did rather well, however I feel he was fairly nicely exhausted by the point we left.

Longer cruises are typically extra geared towards older individuals/retirees as properly, so a shorter cruise could be a bit of extra kid-friendly.

Ensure that to read this publish to study more about cruise itineraries.


On most cruises, you gained’t be charged a gratuity for youngsters beneath two. I might double examine this.

Although they aren’t included, I feel it’s good to go away something – particularly at dinners if your toddler makes an enormous mess.

What sort of room?

There are usually a couple of several types of rooms obtainable on cruises:

  • Inside rooms – haven’t any home windows
  • Porthole rooms – a small, porthole is in your room that allows some natural mild from the surface
  • Balcony rooms – personal balcony hooked up to your room.

And of course, there are suites, which can usually give you extra space BUT are pricier.

I don’t know that one sort of room is best than the opposite with a toddler – a whole lot of that may rely on your baby and family.

We had an interior room, primarily as a result of it was the most cost effective. Nevertheless, it worked out properly as a result of it was pitch dark, which is how both of our youngsters sleep greatest.

If anyone in your celebration is susceptible to feeling claustrophobic, a room with some natural mild can be superb.

In case your toddler takes loads of naps and also you don’t need to really feel trapped, a balcony room could be greatest so you’ll be able to loosen up out there whereas your baby sleeps.

I feel I might have been too nervous with a balcony that my toddler would fall off. But I’m simply overly paranoid!


In case you are on Carnival, I feel top-of-the-line issues you can do is get “Faster to Fun”. This is something you buy beforehand, and it was 100% value it to us.

It principally permits you to go in a special line firstly and end of your cruise. We passed by SO many people, and we hardly needed to wait in any respect.

I was by myself with Oliver and Jack, and I feel I might have gone postal had I been within the long line.

It was bought out the primary time I taken care of we booked our trip, nevertheless it was out there again shortly before we left, so simply hold checking.

I brought our stroller alongside, which I’m grateful for as properly. I feel a light-weight umbrella stroller is a must for anybody taking a toddler!

Are cruises protected for toddlers?

Whereas cruises are usually protected, you possibly can’t simply let your toddler run wild.

If they don’t seem to be in youngster care, it is YOUR duty to all the time be watching them.

Be sure if you find yourself outdoors, you make positive they don’t dart towards the guard rails.

Whereas they will’t simply fall by way of, they undoubtedly can crawl via if they struggle. I used to be so paranoid about this the whole time.

On our cruise ship (the Carnival Ecstacy), there was no glass or netting behind the guard rails, which sort of freaked me out!

In case your youngster is going to be swimming, be sure to don’t simply allow them to run free.

Just use widespread sense. Hold an eye in your baby always. Don’t anticipate the cruise ship staff to notice if they are doing one thing unsafe or assume everybody on the ship is a “good guy”.


The greatest place for age-appropriate actions for your toddler can be within the childcare – nevertheless, there’s household enjoyable to be had all over the place.

I extremely advocate reading the schedule every day and choosing out which activities sound like something your youngster may take pleasure in.

For example, our cruise ship had LOTS of very toddler-friendly actions, resembling a Dr. Seuss celebration and parade, a Dr. Seuss breakfast (that value $5 per individual), a family recreation night time, and so forth.

We went to the cruise director’s speech the first day, and our boys walked away with a coupon for a free Build-a-Bear on the Build-a-Bear workshop at a later day on the ship.

Not the whole lot might be household pleasant – even the exhibits that claimed to be have been slightly loud and risque – but there are a whole lot of great things you are able to do together with your toddler. Simply concentrate on what’s happening.


In case you are flying in and going on to your port, it is perhaps easiest in the event you discover a shuttle service that provides automotive seats.

That method, you don’t need to tote around automotive seats for your youngster all over the place! For those who fly in, we LOVE this CARES Safety harness for making flying just a little safer for a toddler.

Should you do deliver alongside your automotive seat, simply examine it as some of your baggage. This can make your life quite a bit simpler as you board.

Remember that once you get to totally different destinations, there’ll doubtless NOT be automotive seats out there if you must get into a taxi, shuttle, or automotive for any purpose.

If you understand you may be strolling lots at a vacation spot, you must think about bringing alongside a light-weight umbrella stroller, or in case your baby isn’t too massive, a service. I really like the Ergo because it has a reasonably high weight threshold.

Watch the Weather

When you can never 100% predict the weather, you will get a good suggestion a few week out from the cruise.

Be sure to have garments applicable for the climate for your youngster – and remember that youngsters are likely to overheat shortly.

Hats, sun shades…these might be helpful to have.

By figuring out what sort of weather to anticipate, you possibly can have a greater concept of how you can realistically plan your trip together with your toddler.

Handle expectations

As with something with toddlers, things not often go as planned.

They get cranky. They get hungry at inconvenient occasions. They want naps.

Earlier than you step foot on the cruise ship, simply have real looking expectations! Attempt to keep on with your baby’s present schedule as much as attainable to stop meltdowns.

Chances are you’ll not be capable of do every part that you simply need to do, however in case you are lifelike about being flexible, it is going to be a good time.


I recommend scheduling an tour when you’ve gotten youngsters – particularly in case you are an in an unknown/less protected area.

We went to Nassau, which isn’t necessarily unsafe, but it is onerous to navigate for those who don’t know what you’re doing.

I’m SO glad we booked an tour that was very toddler-friendly.

Most excursions (whether they’re by way of the cruise or elsewhere), will inform you any age limits or recommendations.

I was a bit sad because there were a few excursions that Jack might do, however Oliver couldn’t…however in the long run, we have been able to find one thing that was very household pleasant for everybody.

I usually advocate reserving with the cruise – simply so that you don’t get left behind. Nevertheless, I just lately discovered about Shore Trips, and I feel they might assist you to get a really family-friendly tour. If, by no fault of your personal, your loved ones gets left behind, they’ll pay to get you to your next port!

Toddler Packing Record

I’ve talked lots about what it is best to and shouldn’t deliver on a cruise in this submit – 22 Issues I Wish I’d Packed for My Cruise (and 11 Things I’m Glad I Did).

This can be a great start line for any cruise packing listing. Nevertheless, here are some things to think about bringing alongside particularly for your toddler:

  • Umbrella stroller
  • Baby service
  • Nightlight (one of many prime cruise gadgets we advocate buying at the Greenback Tree).
  • Leakproof Sippy cup
  • Loads of diapers, wipes, and so forth. (these aren’t often obtainable in cruise shops, and if they’re, they’re tremendous costly). Once we travel, I sometimes purchase diapers once we get there (if we fly), simply so we save room in our suitcase. Cease by Walmart or Target on your solution to the port!
  • Infant/Toddler protected drugs (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and so on.)
  • Kid’s Seabands and other sea sickness medicine/cures
  • Bug spray
  • Kid-safe sunscreen (Babyganics is my personal favorite)
  • White noise machine or app in your telephone
  • Plenty of additional garments
  • Rash guard swimming go well with – so much simpler than placing sunscreen throughout your kiddo’s physique (and having to reapply continually)
  • Good footwear – we have been so dumb and overlook to convey sandals! At some point on the seashore in his tennis footwear, they usually have been soaking moist and filled with sand. My FAVORITE footwear for toddlers are these Fisherman Sandals from Stride Rite. They’re breathable, sturdy, and waterproof.
  • For those who assume your baby may need some downtime with a film or favorite present, download these to your iPad or gadget BEFORE you get on the ship. Streaming providers usually don’t work.
  • Favourite snacks (especially in case you have a choosy toddler)
  • Formulation or Child Food – if they’re still eating both of those. Usually, you gained’t find them out there on the ship.
  • Diaper disposal luggage for soiled diapers (these will stink up a stateroom in no time!)
  • Silicone Placemat
  • Life jacket or puddle jumper
  • Sand toys (trust me – these are SO costly to buy at a port!)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats

Normally, I do advocate overpacking if you end up traveling with a toddler – more often than not, something you overlook gained’t be out there OR it is going to be extremely costly.

Travel Documentation

Regardless of the age your baby, I might strongly advocate having a passport.

When you aren’t required to have a passport if your port ends and begins in America, it just makes life easier in case you have one – particularly if, for some sudden purpose, you get caught in another country.

For those who choose to not convey a passport for them (or yourself), you will want proof of citizenship, comparable to a start certificate.

I hope this has been useful. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions under if in case you have them.

Other Cruise Posts You Might Take pleasure in:

Share your favourite posts