5 of the Best Cruises for Parents of Babies and Toddlers
Summer is the season to travel and explore. Maybe you’ve been fantasizing about booking a cruise and kicking back by the pool with a good book in one hand and a drink in the other.
But the teddy bear tossed at your face mid-daydream reminds you that planning a trip isn’t the same as it was 5 years ago. Now, you have a little bundle of joy in tow.
Don’t quit daydreaming just yet. Plenty of parents have enjoyed sun- and fun-filled cruises with their tiny tots.
Not only does finding a toddler-friendly cruise help you enjoy the full vacation bliss, but your children can enjoy the benefits of travel, too:
- They get to connect with family outside their day to day routine
- They gain exposure to other cultures
- They can make new friends
- They become more adaptable to new scenarios
Many cruise lines have created accommodations for parents of babies and toddlers, ranging from kids activities to accessible changing stations and more. Below are some of the best cruises for babies and toddlers.
P&O Cruises comes highly recommended for those with toddlers. The Azura, Britannia, Oceana, and Ventura ships all cater heavily to making sure your child is comfortable and happy.
Unlike many other cruises who will make you wait to cruise until your child is age three, kids as young as 2 years old can partake in the P&O Kid’s Club. It’s packed with toys, play equipment, and highly qualified caretakers.
The Splasher’s Club is a portion of the Kid’s Club specifically designed for children ages 2 to 4, with slides, books, and age-appropriate activities.
The fun doesn’t stop there!
Tea party, anyone? Bring your kiddo to children’s tea time!
While children are welcome at all dining events, the children’s tea is catered specifically to them. It’s served around 5pm every evening, and includes kid favorites like fish sticks and pizza rolls.
When you’re ready for a night out, take advantage of P&O’s babysitting service at no extra cost. Babysitters are ready to help out every evening from 6pm to 2am.
The minimum age for Carnival cruisers is 6 months, so you can bring your baby along. And the Carnival Kid’s Club, Camp Ocean, takes children as young as 2 years old.
Children are separated into appropriate age groups, so they can keep having fun and learning at their own pace. And just like P&O, your child doesn’t need to be potty-trained, as caretakers are prepped for diaper changes (as long as you bring the diapers).
Camp Ocean is open all day, so you can work it into your cruise schedule as needed. You’ll receive a pager so you don’t have to keep checking your phone (and falling into the work email trap), and can rest assured knowing your child is having fun doing things like making Play-Doh sculptures, Lego reefs, or reading books.
The Night Owls program is evening-to-late-night babysitting for kids age 6 months to 11 years old. Babies and toddlers will have a mellow, restful time, so you won’t be worried about them being too grumpy the next day.
Disney Cruise Lines
It might come as no surprise to you that Disney cruises are extremely kid friendly. What might be surprising is just how kid friendly — Mickey Mouse strolling around to give hugs and high fives is just the beginning.
Every ship has a special nursery for babies ages 12 weeks to 36 months. On the nurseries in the Fantasy, Magic, and Dream ships, your children will enjoy being surrounded by the comforting and whimsical sights and sounds of the “It’s a Small World” ride.
In the nursery onboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship, they’ll be immersed in the beautiful aquatic world of The Little Mermaid.
Every nursery has an “acclimation area” for children to slowly get comfortable with their new surroundings, as well as a playroom with more fun toys than they can imagine. There are also quiet, peaceful nap rooms so they can get the rest & relaxation they need.
Looking to enjoy a cruise on a budget and keep the extra money for their college fund? MSC cruises has you (and the kids) covered.
Kids age 3-11 sail for free. Once they’re on board, the kid’s club is free, too.
The most prominent perk of MSC cruises for parents of infants is that they have no minimum age to be on board. So if your tiny one is under 6 months, there’s no need to wait for vacation.
Norwegian Cruise lines have a wide variety of options for tiny passengers.
The Guppies nursery is for infants through the age of 3. In their “stay and play” style, you and your toddlers can enjoy guided activities by trained nursery leaders to help you find fun new ways to connect. Or you can both enjoy free play, with a multitude of toys and activities available.
They also feature a drop-off nursery for when you need grown up time. Sessions are for an hour and must be booked in advance.
Ready to Book Your Toddler-Friendly Cruise?
There you have it, the top 5 cruises that guarantee support for parents and enriching fun for babies and toddlers.
It might be hard to choose between these fantastic options, but no matter what decision you make, you’ll know you’re on a ship equipped for small children.
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