Countless people have told us we were brave for taking an infant on board a cruise. Some words other than brave were included as well. Since we like traveling we thought it would be a good idea to experiment with a cruise. Food is catered to us. Our rooms are cleaned while we are out. Entertainment is freely given to us. It’s like having a butler while having an infant. Now I wouldn’t recommend a cruise for families with infants that cry all night. However, if your child sleeps well at night, at cruise can be a great experience. Of course they won’t remember it, but you will. So for parents looking for tips for taking an infant on a cruise, here are mine.
Purchase a baby carrier. This is one of the biggest tips I can offer. We have an Ergobaby. It worked amazing for our trip. We decided not take a stroller with us on our trip. Trying to weave through the walking traffic on a ship is like weaving through traffic in the heart of L.A. A baby carrier makes every location on the ship accessible. It’s easy to get your food at the buffet without bumping into people’s heals. It’s easy to get into the elevators filled to the max. Trust us, and get one or something similar. Even if you decide to get bring a stroller you might want a baby carrier.
Also while on land it is nice to use a baby carrier so you don’t have to use a stroller in traffic. Often multiple ships are unloading at the same time. Thousands upon thousands of people are flocking through the ports. My wife took Braeden for almost the entirety of trip in the carrier. Getting a comfortable carrier will make it easy to hold them all day. We even took Braeden to our formal dinners in the carrier. It was fun to pull Braeden out at the table and watch all the diners at their tables turn their heads to see a newborn onboard.
Cruise ships pack you in their boats like sardines. Rooms are small with minimal storage space. A stroller can take every inch of space you have left. Luckily most cruise lines will allow you to check out a stroller so you don’t have to bring a stroller with you. I still suggest not using a stroller at all, but if you must this might be an option.
Since there is very little storage space in your room, a car seat will take up a lot of it. If you choose not to take a stroller, you still might have to take a car seat with you. Since my family flew from California to Florida, we needed a carseat from the airport to the port. We decided to store out car seat in the shower stall of the bathroom. That way the only time we needed to pull it out was when we needed to take a shower. The rest of the time we had a few more square feet of space to move around.
Our babies were and are spitter-uppers. Almost every feeding they spit up. We packed 8 spit rags and 4 blankets. All were dirty by the 4th day. Make sure to pack enough for the week, or you might have to do some laundry. If your child doesn’t spit up then you won’t have to worry too much.
Babies will go through a lot of clothes during their trip. All the major cruise ships offer a laundry service. Many of which do it free of charge, other’s like MSC charge a “nominal price.” MSC’s nominal price is $35 for 20 pieces of clothing and $55 for 40 pieces of clothing. Either way, it may be useful to take advantage of it so that you don’t have to pack too much.
We use a stick sunscreen for the face on our kids, and a spray or lotion on the rest of their body. For our infant we used a hat and rash guard to cover his body. It’s no fun to have a burnt child on a cruise ship. If you forget sunscreen, most ports have a local pharmacy you can run to. Although the cost will be higher than if you had already brought it from home. In the Carribean it can be very hot and sunny. We also decided to get our infant a sun shade tent. We bought The Hamptons Beach Tent. It worked out great.
We have a white noise app on our cell phones. You might choose to preload an app on your phone just in case. The rooms on a ship are small and very thin. So you can hear your neighbors. Unfortunately we had neighbors who had an argument every night. A white noise app was helpful to drown it out.
Just like any outing, often you might want a pacifier clip. Those pesky things seem to have legs of their own. Put a leash on them. You may not always be near a sink, so you might want to bring a couple a long with you.
My daughter loves to have a nightlight on in her room. We make sure to have a night light on every trip. We generally bring a smaller one on our trips than the one we use at home. The night light makes it easier for my daughter to make a trip to the bathroom. Which is a plus so that she didn’t wake up Braeden in the process. Plus your infant might like the light as well.
My wife has a breast pump and has started using rice cereal in our sons feedings. If you need a breast pump while on-board you might consider buying a hand breast pump. It’s lighter and smaller. If you never used a breast pump at home, then you probably won’t need it on a a cruise.
We decided to not pack a bunch of bottles. Since we rarely use a bottle, we don’t need that many bottles. We did decide to bring a bottle brush cleaner with some dish soap in a smaller travel bottle. That way all our bottles could always be cleaned in the bathroom.
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