The Ultimate Guide to Cruising with a Baby (From Experience!)

Wondering what it’s like cruising with a baby? Let me tell you, you’re in for a treat!

As a full-time travel blogger, I wasn’t sure what to expect for future travels when I became a mom. But now that my son James is in the picture, I’m determined to keep traveling with him at every age.

I’ve done plenty of trips with him via plane, car, and train already, but recently I finally got to go on a cruise with him. And let me tell you, now I 100% recommend cruising with a baby! In fact, I can see plenty of cruising with toddlers and kids in my future.

Cruising with a baby is a great idea. It’s a fantastic way to experience new places and cultures while still having everything you need at your fingertips.

Imagine this: you unpack once but get to see several different places on one trip. On days at sea, you’re just a walk away from anything you need in your room. When you’re out exploring new places, you don’t need to adjust to a new hotel every night. It’s incredible!

So, with a little planning, when cruising with a baby, you can have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation for your whole family!

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In this article, I’ll share the pros and cons of cruising with a baby, things to consider when planning your cruise, baby essentials, and some tips for making the most of your vacation. And, of course, I’ll also share some personal experiences of cruising with my baby.

James was almost 13 months old when we went on our cruise with him. At that age, he was crawling, not walking yet, eating solid foods but still nursing. However, I’ll be sure to include tips for cruising with babies at various ages and milestones!

Also of note: we went on a 7-day Princess Cruise to Alaska aboard the Royal Princess. However, I’ve traveled on a wide variety of cruise lines in the past and have made this article apply to all cruises!

So whether you are a first-time parent, it’s your first cruise, or you are just looking for some tips, read on for everything you need to know about cruising with a baby!

(If you’ve already booked your cruise and want to jump straight to my cruise tips for babies, click here!)

Pros and Cons of Cruising with a Baby

Benefits of Cruising with Infants or Toddlers

First, let’s cover the pros. Here are some of the benefits of cruising with a baby:

  • The opportunity to explore multiple places and cultures, while only unpacking once. Your “hotel room” doesn’t change, yet you get to see different cities each day!
  • You don’t need to worry about cooking, cleaning, or laundry.
  • The convenience of having everything you need just steps away, such as food, entertainment, and even childcare.
  • A variety of amenities, such as childcare, food, and entertainment, are specifically designed for families.
  • You can make new friends with other families who are cruising with babies.
  • You pay for your cruise once- then don’t have to worry about paying for food once you’re on the ship!
  • Depending on your ship’s itinerary, cruising may help you avoid flying with a baby. I don’t know about you, but that’s the biggest hurdle for me every time I travel with my baby. I just get so nervous about long flights! I was grateful we got to see Alaska on our cruise without the headache of flying all the way to Alaska!! (It was a cruise that went from Seattle to Alaska.)
  • Unlimited food means that if your baby is eating solids, you can give them all sorts of foods to try!
  • Some cruise lines provide baby food, like pureed fruits and vegetables, at no additional cost. On our Princess cruise, we simply had to ask room service for it, and they’d bring a variety of baby foods without any charge.

Cons of Cruising with a Baby (and Their Workarounds)

We’ve discussed the pros, so we need to also look at the cons! However, I’ll also share workarounds for cons as well, so they’re not as negative as you might think!

  • How everyone sleeps at night: If your baby still cries in the night, you might not get the best sleep. Since you’re most likely sharing a room with your baby, even the little noises babies make at night might wake you up if you’re a light sleeper.
    • Bring sound machines! One for your baby’s crib and one for your bed. I brought a travel sound machine to put on Jamesy’s crib and our heavy-duty sound machine for us. We also brought earplugs but didn’t end up needing them.
    • I’ll cover way more about how to logistically sleep in a room with your baby below.
  • Worrying about your neighbors: For those who care about what others think (hi, guilty), you might be worried about your neighbors at night. James usually wakes up a couple of times anytime we put him to sleep in a new place, and your baby might too.
    • I was worried about our neighbors but turns out, balcony rooms often have less noise than interior rooms! We literally never heard a peep from our neighbors, even when we knew they were in their rooms (we saw them go in, or saw them on their balcony). The only noise we could hear was the occasional noise from the hallway. So if your baby still wakes in the night, get an exterior room when choosing your cruise stateroom. And choose a room far away from the elevators if you want to have less hallway noise.
    • You can also bring extra travel sound machines and earplugs and distribute them to your neighbors if you’re that worried about nighttime wakings!
  • Age limits: You usually can’t cruise with babies under 6 months of age. And I feel like that’s when they are generally the easiest to travel with.
    • There’s nothing you can do about this one. However, it’s fun to travel with babies when they are more aware! Sure, things are easier when you can just baby-wear or if they are exclusively nursing, but it’s so fun watching older babies explore new places.
  • Accessibility: If you forget something, you might not be able to get it until you reach a cruise port (or at all in some cases!). Examples: your breast pump, your child’s lovey, a specific type of formula, a favorite type of bottle or pacifier, etc.
  • Limited space: Staterooms on cruise ships are often small, which can make it difficult to get around with a baby.
    • Fortunately, it’s possible to get a bigger cabin- albeit at an additional cost. We opted for a mini-suite and I’m grateful that we did! It had plenty of room and more than enough storage. It also came with a full-size tub! Even if you don’t book a mini-suite, you can still book a cabin that is larger than the standard size. This will give you more space to move around and store your baby’s gear.
  • Schedule changes: Cruise schedules can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This can be inconvenient for parents who are traveling with a baby, as they may need to adjust their baby’s nap schedule or feeding schedule.
    • We didn’t have any schedule changes with our cruise, and generally speaking, drastic schedule changes are pretty rare. If one does occur, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do but remember that babies are very resilient. If they miss a nap or have a short one, shorten their next wake window to compensate.
  • Limited activities: Some cruise ships have limited activities for babies and toddlers. This can be frustrating for parents who are looking for ways to keep their baby entertained.
    • You can either choose a cruise ship that is designed for young kids or make do with one that isn’t. We were in the second camp. Our Alaskan cruise wasn’t really designed for cruising with a baby; their kid zone was for ages 3 and up. However, we made do! We found little areas where James could crawl around and play without disturbing other cruise guests. Another family that we made friends with also brought their 13-month-old and we shared toys among the two babies. We also frequently went to the game room/library where we could close the doors and just let James roam free.
    • You can also choose a cruise ship with a good reputation for families. These ships will typically have more amenities and activities for babies and tots. More about that later!
  • Additional costs: Some cruises charge for additional people in your stateroom- which includes babies!
    • Paying more for a baby is a huge no-no for me, so I will always look for cruise fares that allow kids to travel free (except for taxes & fees). It seems like many cruises offer “3rd and 4th free” or “kids fly free” promotions. That’s what Princess was doing when we booked our Alaska cruise.
  • Health concerns: Babies are more susceptible to illness than adults, so it is important to take precautions to prevent your baby from getting sick while on a cruise.
    • I take additional Vitamin D and Vitamin C to share vitamins with James through breastfeeding. There are also vitamin drops out there (like these Vitamin D drops that we gave James as a baby). Ask your child’s pediatrician if they have recommendations for vitamins that your baby can take.
    • I try to go outside with James as much as possible in general, and it’s easy to do that on a cruise.
    • Bring back up medicines for emergencies (I keep baby Tylenol, a nose aspirator, and a thermometer in my baby’s sick bag).
    • Keep in mind that there is a doctor and a medical area on every cruise ship.

I hope you can see that there’s a way around most of these cons to traveling with a baby. So despite these cons, cruising with a baby truly is worth it! With careful planning and preparation, you can have a great cruising experience with your baby.

Things to Consider When Booking a Cruise with a Baby

Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re booking a cruise:

  • The age of your baby: Most cruise lines have age restrictions for babies, so it is important to check with the cruise line before you book your trip. I’ve found that the majority of cruise lines don’t allow babies under 6 months, especially trans-ocean cruises or longer itineraries. Also, if an itinerary has multiple consecutive days at sea, babies often must be over 12 months old.
  • The length of your cruise: If you are planning on taking a longer cruise, you’ll need to ensure that you have everything you need for your baby (ie. enough diapers, snacks, wipes, formula, etc.).
  • Which cruise line: Some have more offerings, supplies, and amenities for babies than others.
  • Cruise ship amenities for babies: decide which amenities are important to you. You might want to choose a cruise ship with a splash pad that allows babies in swim diapers, a nursery, babysitting options, a kids club, or a playground/dedicated play space for littles.
  • The type of room to book: I’ll cover more about this here in a sec!

Best Cruise Lines for Babies

According to Cruise Critic, here are the best family cruise lines for babies:

  1. Carnival Cruise Linefree babysitting at age 2, paid babysitting for under 2.
  2. Cunardfree babysitting at age 2; free night nursery babysitting from 6-11pm up to 23 months old, provide baby food.
  3. Disney Cruise Line paid babysitting from 6-36 months at It’s a Small World Nursery, kid-friendly ships, provide a lot of baby equipment.
  4. MSC Cruises notably, they have no minimum age to sail; under 12 require a doctor’s “fit to travel” note! They also have free babysitting for ages 12-36 months and provide a wide range of baby equipment.
  5. Royal Caribbean paid daytime and evening daycare options at the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery for littles from six to 36 months on most ships.

Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are also baby friendly according to Cruise Radio. However, you’ll even find that some cruise lines, like Princess, offer free baby food, while some on this list do not! So don’t limit yourself to these cruise lines just based on this list!

If you haven’t booked a cruise yet, you can also simply search CruiseDirect’s suggestions for family cruises to find the best cruise to book for your family! It can be really helpful to book through a cruise aggregator like CruiseDirect so that you can see all options for your preferred destination. You’ll also be able to narrow cruises down based on certain cruise ship filters like babysitting and children’s center!

Tips for Cruising with a Baby

Here are some of my favorite cruise tips for babies!

When You Get on Board

The first day of your cruise is always a bit hectic. This applies to everyone, not just those cruising with babies: make sure you keep your passport on you! And speaking of passports, make sure to check the rules for your cruise destination, even if you’re on a closed-loop cruise.

Anyway, if you haven’t cruised before or if you need a refresher, the cruise line will take all of your tagged luggage directly to your room. So make sure anything you need (breast pump, snacks, diapers, etc.) stays with you.

The smoothest way to do this is to keep them all in one backpack, purse, or diaper bag ahead of time. That way you don’t need to dig for anything in a suitcase before handing it over.

Since we checked our pack-n-play, I made sure that we had our baby carrier with me so that I could wear James for his nap.

Packing for a Cruise with a Baby

Packing for a cruise with a baby can be confusing, but I’m going to try to make it as uncomplicated as possible.

First things first: check with your cruise line to see what sorts of baby items they provide. Some cruise lines offer strollers, baby food, bottle warmers, etc. Once you know what they’ll provide, you can narrow down what you need to pack for a cruise with a baby.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Outfits: Pack one outfit per day with a few extra body suits and pants in case of stains/blowouts, etc. Many tips I’ve heard include packing light, but in my opinion, since baby clothes are so small, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
  • Infant formula and feeding necessities: If your cruise doesn’t provide them, don’t forget feeding necessities like a bottle, bottle warmer, bottle cleaner, sterilizer, etc.
  • A full coverage bib: If your baby is eating solids, use a full upper body bib to avoid getting food stains on their clothes.
  • Snacks: Also if your baby is eating solids, bring their favorite snacks! While you can find plenty of food at mealtime (both regular and baby food), you won’t be able to find puffs, squeeze pouches, mum mums, etc. So if your baby has favorite snacks, you’ll need to bring enough with you to last the duration of the cruise.
  • Diapers and wipes: We ended up buying extra diapers at one port on our Alaska cruise and they were pretty marked up! Also, don’t forget diaper rash cream, lotion, or medication/vitamins your baby is taking.
  • Stroller/car seat: Bring a stroller (and car seat if needed) that is easy to fold up and store. I brought our Doona which is both a car seat and a stroller. We used it as his car seat whenever we rented a car at a port of call. That would’ve been our only stroller, but unfortunately, he’s at the age where he hates being confined to his Doona. So I also brought our compact travel stroller (it’s so compact that it fits in an overhead bin!) so that he could face out and not be stuck in a reclining position. It was perfect for navigating narrow hallways and crowded cruise elevators! You can also bring an umbrella stroller to make things even more compact. (We ran into a family with a big stroller and the mom told me she wished she brought a smaller one.) Some cruise lines actually provide strollers, like MSC, but you’ll want to reserve them in advance to make sure! (Psst… if you’re heading to a beach destination, some even have beach strollers that go on sand! See if your cruise line has this option!)
  • A baby carrier: Ours was a lifesaver for naps and hikes at ports of call! I used a cloth carrier when James was younger (up to about 9 months) and switched to my BabyBjorn once he was older.
  • Painter’s tape: If your baby is crawling and likes to touch outlets or pull at wires, consider bringing some painter’s tape to cover these hazards in your room.
  • Inflatable tub: If your room doesn’t have a tub in it, you might want one of these.
  • Blackout cover: A SlumberPod or SnoozeShade blackout cover for a pack-n-play could come in handy if you’re sharing space with your little one! More on SlumberPods in a bit!
  • Baby monitor: Consider bringing a baby monitor if you’re comfortable with it- that brings me to my next point…

How to Bring a Baby Monitor on a Cruise

Okay, please don’t come at me for breaking cruise rules!! Technically, most cruises have baby monitors on their “prohibited items” list. But we tried it anyway and it wasn’t confiscated when they put our stuff through the X-rays upon boarding the ship. (If it had been, they’d simply hold it until the last day of the cruise, so we’d be able to get it back.) Anyway, it really made our cruise experience even better!

A baby monitor that uses radio waves will only be able to reach short ranges. We made friends with a family that was sharing a regular balcony room with their baby. They brought their radio baby monitor and would hang out in the mom’s sister’s room directly across the hall.

We use a WYZE WiFi monitor at home and when we travel. It’s super compact which makes it ideal for packing on trips. However, we used to run into the issue of it not being able to connect to public WiFi. Fortunately, I have a hack to get around this issue!

If you buy a travel router (this is the one we use), you can connect it to the cruise WiFi (or hotel WiFi or any other public WiFi). (Caveat, yes, this does mean you need to purchase cruise WiFi. It may come with a deal you used when booking the trip, but if not, you have to buy WiFi on board.)

I found that the best way to set up our travel router was using my laptop and creating a MAC clone in the router portal.

Anyway, once our GL.iNet travel router connected to the internet, we could link the WYZE camera to it. Then, we could leave our room and keep our phones with a constant visual of James in his crib. The way I see it, it’s no different than being at home- just like being in a giant mansion.

We mainly stayed in the room while he was napping and only left the room once he was down for the night and kept a constant eye on the monitor.

*If your baby is already at the stage where they can get out of a pack-n-play, never leave them alone in your room!*

Tips for Your Room

Choosing Your Room Type

There are four types of rooms on cruise ships:

  • Suite
  • Mini-suite (aka junior suite)
  • Balcony
  • Interior

I’ve covered a bit of this already, but if you haven’t booked your cruise yet and can afford it, I recommend getting a mini-suite. (Well, if you can swing it, a regular suite would be truly ideal! I’m not about to splurge on that, though.)

There was a partition that separated the bed section from the sitting area section of our room. When James would nap, having the mini-suite meant that we could hang out in one section while he was in the other. We’d simply shut the dividing curtain.

Since our black-out curtains covering the balcony door still let light in from above and underneath, for naps, we’d put his crib in the bed portion of the room. That way I’d have the sitting area and balcony to myself, and his area would be dark.

The other perks to a mini-suite are that there is plenty of room (a TON of storage, even with all of our gear!) and that ours came with a full-size tub. That made baby bath time a breeze!

If you are in a regular balcony room or an interior room, don’t worry! You will make do with the space you have. And one benefit to interior rooms is that they are pitch black, which means your baby will probably sleep really well! The benefit of balcony rooms is that they seem to be more soundproof than interior rooms. (And, of course, you get a balcony. Great views and you can hang out on your balcony while your baby naps!)

You can also bring an inflatable bathtub if your room doesn’t have a tub.

When I was booking our room, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole when researching if a pack-n-play would fit in any type of cabin. Long story short, I believe that cruise lines can provide pack-n-plays for any room type. If you have concerns, you should reach out directly to the specific cruise line that you’re booking with.

Pack-n-Plays

Speaking of pack-n-plays, once you book your cruise, you should contact them to request a pack-n-play or travel crib in your room. As far as I’m aware, every cruise provides portable cribs at no additional cost, but they are first-come-first-serve.

I requested one but ended up bringing our Guava Lotus since we were traveling after the cruise and staying in places that didn’t provide cribs. I also liked having our Guava Lotus because James was used to sleeping in it.

(Note: even though I requested a pack-n-play, there wasn’t one when I got to our room. However, our room steward asked if we wanted one, so I’m assuming there would’ve been no issues.)

If you’ve traveled with your baby before and they’ve slept well in foreign beds, then great! But if it’s your first time traveling with your baby, or if you know they don’t do well sleeping in new environments, then I recommend bringing a crib sheet that smells like home. Just make sure it’s the right size. And don’t forget their lovey if they have one!

SlumberPods: We don’t use one, but if you have a SlumberPod, my guess is that it would easily fit in the sitting area of a mini-suite (it definitely would’ve fit in the mini suite we were in). However, I’m not sure about balcony rooms or interior rooms, so contact the cruise line directly to see if it would. You could also use a blackout cover instead.

Multiple Pack-n-Plays: If you’ve got two kids using pack-n-plays, they should fit in a mini-suite. (They definitely would fit in the mini-suite that we had!) They may fit in a balcony room, but you’d be very cramped. Once again, you should contact the cruise line to see if two would fit. You could also bring two Travel Lite Cribs; this crib is smaller than a typical pack-n-play.

A Note on Outlets

One thing to note is that your room may have a shockingly low number of outlets. Oddly enough, our mini-suite only had two outlets in the whole room, plus one in the bathroom. Meanwhile, my parents had four outlets in their balcony room (plus one in the bathroom).

Yes, you read that right.

We had two outlets… one on each side of the desk. And zero by our bed.

I asked our room steward if I had missed any outlets, and he affirmed that we only had two outlets. He brought an extension cord but it barely reached the floor from the desk outlet. The whole thing was pretty comical!

Fortunately, my parents are seasoned cruisers and had an extra multi-outlet plug that they let us use.

Of course, the number of outlets will be cruise ship dependent, so you may have more than two. But I will always bring one of these multi-outlet plugs with me just in case! I recommend that you do too!

How to Sleep with a Baby in Your Cruise Room

There are a few options for navigating naps and nighttime sleep.

If you’re not comfortable breaking the rules with a baby monitor, here are a few options:

  • Try a SlumberPod if your room fits one
  • Use a SnoozeShade blackout cover for the pack-n-play
  • In a mini-suite: stay on your partitioned side
  • Go out on your balcony until they fall asleep
  • In an interior or balcony room: hide under your bed covers and watch a movie or TV show with earbuds until they fall asleep.
  • In an interior or balcony room, you can also create a partition around their pack-n-play with an extra wide blackout curtain (or just a shower curtain if your baby doesn’t need a blacked-out room) and some magnetic ceiling hooks.

Regardless of which option you choose, I highly, highly recommend bringing a sound machine like this one. Better yet, bring two! One to keep by your baby’s pack-n-play and one to keep close to you. You can bring a travel sound machine to save space, but as I said before, I brought our heavy-duty one to keep by our bed. I highly value my sleep!

Advice for Ports of Call

  • Plan your activities around your baby’s nap schedule. This will help to keep your baby happy and avoid meltdowns. I find that James is especially prone to fussiness when he’s not in his daily routine (ie. anytime we are traveling), so sticking to his sleep schedule is key!
  • Don’t forget bottle/feeding necessities! Bring a cooler to store cold milk if needed. I’ll cover more on feeding in the next section.
  • Bring snacks with you if your baby is on solids. On most cruise ship itineraries, you’re not allowed to bring cruise food off of the ship. However, I don’t think this applies to closed items like squeeze pouches, closed pureed baby food, etc. We had no issues bringing these things off of the ship.
  • If possible, schedule your own shore excursions. The thought of being on an organized tour with strict timetables stresses me out. And booking excursions through the cruise line often costs more than finding your own. I’ve found that the most cost-effective way to explore ports of call is by renting a car and exploring on my own. That way, we can store random necessities in our car without lugging them around everywhere, and we don’t have to wait on other people or hurry up to follow others’ schedules. If you take buses or taxis, keep in mind they might not have room for car seats.
  • Wear your baby. If you do join an excursion, baby-wearing is one of the easiest ways to accommodate naptimes on the go! Public transit or big buses that cruise ships use for a lot of their excursions don’t require car seats, so your baby can nap on you whether you’re out and about or being transported between destinations.
  • Bring the right gear. As I mentioned earlier, a compact travel stroller comes in handy for ports of call! We use this one!

Tips for Mealtimes and Feedings When Cruising with Babies

Dining Options

There are several eating spaces on cruise ships:

  • Fine dining/ main dining room- you’re seated at a nice table in a restaurant and order off of a menu. There are usually multiple courses. This is usually offered for every meal of the day, but typically people do dinner here. 
  • Buffet dining- the cruise buffet is available for every meal and is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Specialty dining- like a steakhouse or dining with the captain. This is usually not included in your cruise ship price.
  • Little cafes or shops- like a gelato parlor, pizza shop, pool grill, sushi bar, etc.

Everywhere we dined, we had no problem getting a heavy-duty high chair with a tray. Unfortunately, James doesn’t love being in a high chair. In public, we really try to avoid having a fussy baby, so we had a few workarounds for this.

When we ate at the buffet, he would sometimes sit on my lap and be much happier that way. At the fine dining restaurants, we’d put him in the high chair but let him have screen time and it worked like a charm. (We don’t allow screen time at home, but make exceptions for eating out or long car rides on our travels.)

As the cruise went on, we ended up doing fewer meals in the fine dining restaurants and more in the buffet area. That way we didn’t have to wait for our server to bring out each course and could have a faster meal.

Feeding

Let’s dive into different feeding options when cruising with a baby:

Breastfeeding: This is the easiest way to feed a baby on a cruise, in my opinion! No extra devices are needed, except a nursing cover if you want to use one.

Sippy cup: We brought a sippy cup for James to drink milk out of. He was still nursing in the morning, after a nap, and in the evening on the cruise, but we’d offer him milk and water throughout the day. 

Warm milk: If your baby takes warm cow’s milk at night, you can ask for some from room service.

Formula: For babies drinking formula, there is hot water in the coffee/tea area of the buffet that you can mix with cold water to get it to the right temperature. If you’re concerned about water quality, you can request boiled water from room service.

When you go out at each port of call, bring a leak-proof travel mug full of hot water and a travel formula container.

Pumped milk: If you are pumping and giving breast milk out of a bottle, you should bring a small cooler for going out at each port of call. 

In your room, your mini-fridge might not be cold enough for milk. If that’s the case, simply ask your room steward to store it for you in the main fridge. (They store people’s medication there and they can definitely store your milk there too.)

Some cruises offer baby equipment like bottle warmers or sterilizers, but you should check with your cruise line in advance. Cruise lines that offer them include Disney, Costa, Cunard, and P&O Cruises. If you can’t reserve these items, don’t forget to bring your own. (You can also run bottles under hot water to heat them up.)

Baby food: Not all cruise lines offer complimentary pureed baby food, so check with your cruise beforehand to see if you need to bring your own. Ships that offer free baby food include Princess Cruises (I was so happy about that!), Cunard, Celebrity, and P&O Cruises.

Baby-led weaning: Cruise ships are a dream come true for baby-led weaning! It is so nice to have such a variety of food for your baby to try! We ordered some complimentary baby food from room service but for the most part, we fed James straight from the buffet. He’d eat fruit, mashed potatoes, shredded chicken, rice, french fries, pizza, fish, soup, and so much more.

Cruise Activities for Babies and What to Do on Days at Sea

Some ships offer cruise activities for babies such as a nursery, babysitting, dedicated play area, baby splash pool, group play activities (ie: parents and their babies singing songs, learning shapes, etc.), movies, or animal encounters.

As I’ll discuss more in just a second, our Princess cruise to Alaska was not exactly baby friendly. However, we had no problem entertaining James on our cruise. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time outdoors with James since it was so cold out on days at sea. But even though it was cold out (we went at the end of May), we didn’t have a hard time filling the time at sea. 

Here are some things you can do with babies on pretty much any cruise:

If your baby is crawling, let them explore the ship. We aren’t a stickler for germs as we want James to grow his immune system, so had no problem letting him crawl around. There are plenty of spaces where you can be out of people’s way. We’d bring out the few toys we brought and let him play with them. Our favorite was the cruise library/game room because we could shut the door and let him roam free. He also loved crawling up the wide stairs in the main piazza (a giant atrium area on the ship).

Babies and kids of all ages are welcome at the group activities that the cruise ship puts on (like dancing, music trivia, family-friendly shows, and music performances). James was very entertained by these!

If you’re wondering if babies can use regular pools in a swim diaper, unfortunately due to health and safety reasons, they cannot. Kids must be potty-trained in order to use cruise pools. But a handful of cruise lines offer baby splash zones, like Royal Caribbean, Disney, and some NCL ships.

If you haven’t booked a cruise yet, you can search for family-friendly cruises based on amenities like babysitting, children’s center, kiddie pool, and more here.

Our Experience Cruising with a Baby on a Princess Cruise to Alaska

We were on a Princess Cruise aboard the Royal Princess and even though it was not very baby friendly, we still loved our experience. Some things I noticed that weren’t baby friendly included:

  • A lack of changing tables in many bathrooms (even the ones by the buffet dining rooms)
  • No kiddie pool for children in swim diapers (however, this wasn’t an issue since it was generally cold outside in Alaska)
  • The KidZone was for ages three and up (for $5 an hour per kid)
  • No dedicated baby/toddler play area. If we wanted to bring James to the Treehouse (where littles play at the KidZone), only one parent was allowed to go in with him due to space limits.

They did have other kid-friendly things available, though, like:

  • High chairs with built-in trays in every dining room
  • Animal encounters like Puppies in the Piazza, where they brought local sled dog puppies from Skagway onto the ship
  • Complimentary baby food via room service
  • Pack-n-plays at no extra cost

Age and Milestone-Specific Cruising

Cruising with Infants

If your baby isn’t crawling yet, in my opinion, this is a very easy stage to cruise in! Strolling and baby-wearing will make getting around a breeze! At this stage, your main concern will probably be feeding (as opposed to focusing on entertaining them).

Cruising with a Crawling Baby

This is what we did with James! I was concerned that it would be really hard to manage a crawler, but he had a blast crawling around the ship! One thing I’d be careful of is having a crawler on a hot pool deck for tropical cruises. You’ll just need to be extra careful to test surface temperatures or try to keep their crawling limited to indoor spaces- just keep that in mind!

Cruising with a Walking Baby

We haven’t experienced this yet, but we really felt like cruising would’ve been easier if James was walking. It’s easier to let him explore the ship. We were constantly having to stand over James when he was crawling to make sure that no one stepped on him! Sure, you’re going to be doing more chasing with a fast walker, but I think it would be easier overall.

Cruising with Toddlers

The older your baby gets, the more options you’ll have on cruises. I’m talking about more play areas, how and what they eat, making friends with other toddlers, toddler kid activities, babysitting, and more. I’m definitely looking forward to cruising with James as he grows older!

In conclusion…

I hope this article has given you some helpful information about cruising with a baby. There are so many pros to cruising with a baby- I couldn’t recommend it more! (And that’s coming from someone who was on a not-so-child-friendly cruise!)

If you haven’t booked a cruise yet, check out this list of family-friendly cruises!

Cruising is such an easy way to travel and will get more and more convenient as my kid(s) grow up. I can’t wait to be able to use the childcare on future cruise vacations!

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below! 

And as you plan your travels with a baby in tow, here are some more articles you might find helpful!

Lastly, if you’ve already gone cruising with a baby, please leave a comment about your own experiences cruising with babies!

Safe travels!

Jasmine

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Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I love to create photo-worthy travel content and hope to fill your travel plans with incredible beauty and breathtaking views! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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