I love cruising! But until now I had avoided family cruising because it just sounded like a nightmare to me. All the packing for a baby, diapers to change, nap times, bed time routines, sounded more like work than a vacation to me… Until I had a baby and went on a cruise without him. Yeah me and my husband were having a great time, no crying baby, drinks all day long, dinners and late nights with entertainment. But by the third day I missed my baby so terribly that it just wasn’t fun anymore. All I could think was how would my baby like this food, how would he enjoy this beach and play in the sand? And when I saw other people with babies on the cruise I almost wanted to cry. That was it I was not leaving my baby behind ever again!
Thankfully my husband also really enjoyed cruising. That trip we went on without the baby was his first ever and by the last day he was ready to put the deposit for the next one. So when we booked out second cruise I had now two babies! We booked well in advance and got a balcony. We figure a balcony is a way to entertain them without actually having to leave the cabin and also a way for one of us to be able to take a breath if things got to intense. I did my research and I am glad I did. I think a key to cruising with a baby is being well prepared for it. You don’t want to be in the middle of the ocean with no store in sight for a day and run out of diapers or formula/milk.
Since we live in Arizona we decided a cruise leaving from a closer port would probably be best for the kiddos. We booked the Norwegian cruise departing from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. We decided to drive, because then we don’t have to worry about all the restrictions with liquids and such and of course because for a family of 4 it would be cheaper. It is a bit longer than flying but not that much when you take into account that to fly you have to still drive to the airport, check in with 2 hours advance, go through security, wait at the gate to board, then wait to take off, wait to get off the plane, wait for the luggage and then drive to the port and do it all over it again…
Besides clothes and all the stuff you would usually pack for yourself, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent etc. here is the gear you want to make sure you have for the Babies. Mine at the time of the cruise were 7 months and 27 months (2 years 3 months).
- Diapers of course. Plan for more than what you need because mine babies pooped a lot more than usual on the cruise ship. Probably because they were eating a lot too! So if your baby usually wears 4 diapers during the day plus a night diaper or two at night bring 7 diapers per day, that is 2 extra diapers per day.
- a few of their favorite toys. For Hans it was a couple of trucks and the tablet
- For the 7 month old it was a couple of chewing toys.
- Teething tablets or gel if they are teething
- Swaddles, receiving blankets or whatever you use to throw over the bed to change your babies diaper, wipes and diaper cream.
- A small changing bag. We used a small hiking backpack.
- Baby food. The pouches were the easiest for us.
- Inflatable bath tub, wash cloths, baby wash
- baby carrier
- umbrella stroller
- Hiking back pack carrier. Ours is the Osprey Poco Premium
We brought the high chair that you attach from the table but ended up never using it because every where on the ship there was high chairs and off the ship we would just feed them in our laps or Hans sat on his own chair.
Please feel free to ask me questions or give tell me what you found super useful traveling with your family. We did see a family with older kids that had this leash bracelet and both the parents and kids loved it.