Anyone who has traveled with a toddler before knows the experience can be overwhelming. After all, toddlers fidget on flights, don’t adapt well to new bedtime routines, and sometimes refuse to eat different foods than those they get at home.
For these reasons, maybe you’re hesitant to book a cruise with a toddler. The truth is, taking a toddler on a cruise is easier and more fun than you might expect. In fact, after sailing with your young one for the first time, we won’t be surprised if you start making a family cruise a yearly tradition.
Still, there are many factors to consider before booking your next cruise vacation for your family. From the best kind of stateroom to the excursions you’ll want to sign up for, here is everything you need to know about taking a toddler on a cruise.
How old should a child be to go on a cruise?
Infants must be at least 6 months old in order to be able to travel on most cruises with Celebrity. For transatlantic cruises, transpacific cruises, and some cruises to South America, as well as cruises with three or more consecutive days at sea, children must be at least 12 months old.
For those traveling with toddlers over 6 months old, there are various programs onboard tailored to entertain them, including Toddler Time (for kids under 3), and Camp at Sea (ages 3 -12).
What are some of the best cruises for toddlers?
If you’re cruising with your toddler for the first time, these are some of the best cruises to book.
Cruises with departure ports close to your home city
Taking a flight before boarding a cruise with a toddler can be taxing on both kids and parents. By picking a departure port close to home, you’ll be able to cut down on travel time before your cruise even begins, ensuring a smooth trip once you do take off on your actual vacation.
If you don’t live near one of our departure ports, consider breaking up your travel time by spending a day or two in the city you’ll sail from. This will also give you the chance to stock up on some travel essentials like diapers, their favorite snacks, and sunscreen.
If you’re taking your first cruise with a toddler, you might want to book a shorter itinerary (3-4 days) to see how your little one adapts to the sea. If your toddler has traveled well on a cruise before, go ahead and book a longer itinerary (7-10 days), but we recommend choosing one with multiple port stops and few consecutive days at sea in order to avoid seasickness and allow more opportunities for activities on land.
Cruises with family-friendly destinations
While we offer fun and exciting shore excursions in all of our port cities, some are more family-oriented than others. For example, little ones might not find a European city tour as interesting as a day swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas. Browse our website for family friendly excursions (you can search by age) before deciding on which cruise you’ll ultimately embark on.
Are cruises fun with toddlers?
Of course they are! Cruises are fun for kids of all ages, and there are plenty of activities to keep your toddlers entertained.
Kids under the age of 3 can enjoy Toddler Time at the ship’s playroom, where they’ll be able to play with educational toys and interact with other kids around their age. Parental supervision is required during Toddler Time, but children don’t have to be potty trained in order to participate in Toddler Time activities. Certain toys and books will also be available to check out and bring back to your stateroom.
Potty-trained kids over 3 can participate in our Camp at Sea program. Open every day from 9:00am to 10:00pm, Camp at Sea’s entertainment center offers activities for kids with all kinds of interests, including STEM-oriented excursions, Xbox tournaments, culinary experiences, and art programs.
For parents who want to enjoy a couple of hours off or perhaps a romantic dinner, the Camp at Sea program also offers afternoon and slumber parties at different hours of the day. During these parties, kids will eat a meal and enjoy activities while being supervised by our youth staff, so you can rest easy that they are being taken care of while you get to enjoy some alone time. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. There are also a variety of babysitting services available on board for travelers staying in one of our suites.
What should I pack for my toddler on a cruise?
Preparation is key when traveling with a toddler on a cruise. For those about to cruise with a toddler, we recommend packing the following essentials in your suitcase:
- Passport or proof of citizenship
- Diapers and swim diapers
- Baby monitor
- Umbrella or foldable stroller
- Inflatable tub (This will come in handy since most staterooms only have a shower.)
- Medicine/First Aid kit with kids acetaminophen, band-aids, aloe gel, and antibiotic cream
- Two outfits per day (in case there are any spills or accidents)
- One formal look (you’ll be thankful you dressed your toddler up when you see the adorable photos)
- Baby wipes
- At least 3 swimsuits
- Sandals or water shoes
- Sippy cup
- White noise machine
- Baby body wash and lotion
- Childproofing supplies (such as outlet plugs)
What’s the best stateroom for families cruising with a toddler?
The type of stateroom you choose when taking a toddler on a cruise depends on your personal preference and budget. While all of our staterooms are family friendly, there are some advantages if you decide to book a higher category of stateroom on your cruise while traveling with children.
Parents traveling with toddlers may want to book a veranda stateroom because it gives adults a little more in-room flexibility. Since kids generally go to bed earlier, a veranda stateroom allows parents to sit outside on their private veranda and still keep an eye on their kids sleeping inside. Just because they have an early bedtime doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the view—and maybe even a glass of wine.
For parents of rowdier toddlers who might prefer to book a room without a balcony, our ocean view staterooms offer you peace of mind and large windows to take in the view outside.
If you prefer to cruise in a more spacious and exclusive stateroom, a suite is your best bet. Not only do our suites offer private rooms, living areas, and outside verandas, they also include concierge or butler service (which might come in handy if you’re having a particularly difficult day with the kids), access to VIP areas of the ship, and plenty of space for active toddlers who like to move around.
What will my toddler do on a cruise?
There are plenty of fun activities for your toddler to do while on a cruise!
To start, all of our ships include a large outdoor pool, in which kids of all ages who are potty trained are welcome to swim, play, and splash around while onboard.
At the Lawn Club, a half-acre area laden with real grass, kids are free to run around, play croquet, or enjoy a picnic, all while taking in the magnificent view of the open sea all around.
Kids under the age of 3 can enjoy Toddler Time at the ship’s playroom, where they’ll be able to play with fun and educational toys and kids in their age group.
Older toddlers who are potty trained can also enroll at Celebrity Cruises’ Camp at Sea program, which is open every day from 9:00am to 10:00pm. At Camp at Sea, kids will be entertained with daily activities like science excursions, video game tournaments, art activities, and even culinary challenges.
In port, choose from a number of family-friendly shore excursions that you and your toddler will enjoy. The possibilities are endless.
Are there babysitting services for toddlers on a cruise?
If you’re staying in one of our suites, you can book a private babysitter on a first come, first served basis. Babysitters will care for up to three kids per family for $30 an hour. Children must be at least a year old and up to two sitters will be assigned per suite. If you’d like to arrange in-suite babysitting during a port day, at least one parent or legal guardian must stay onboard the ship.
For all of our guests, children ages 3-12 enrolled in the youth program can participate in the ship’s afternoon parties (from 12:00pm – 2:00pm and 5:00pm to 7:00pm) and slumber parties (from 10:00pm – 1:00am), where they’ll be supervised by staff.
What will my toddler eat on a cruise?
What to feed a toddler on a cruise ship can be worrisome for parents of picky eaters. Luckily, our cruises make it easy. At our main dining room, toddlers will be able to order from our kids menu, which includes favorites like spaghetti bolognese, grilled cheese sandwiches, mini margarita pizzas, and cheeseburgers with fries.
If your toddler is too tired to make it through a sit-down meal, we also offer an in-room dining kids menu that includes chicken skewers with yogurt sauce, hot dogs with fries, and a variety of desserts.
The buffet is an excellent option for parents cruising with toddlers. There’s a huge selection of food and the setting is more casual and relaxed. Plus, the buffet has an ice cream and dessert station that’s sure to appeal to any toddler.
Should I bring a stroller?
Cruise ships can require a lot of walking to get from one area to the next. Make it easier on your little one (and on your back) by bringing a stroller onboard with you.
We suggest leaving the big bulky stroller at home and bringing a lightweight umbrella stroller that folds up compactly, so you can store it under your bed or in the closet of your stateroom.
If you don’t want to bring a stroller onboard, you can also opt for a baby wrap or baby carrier that can comfortably hold your toddler.
Strollers and carriers will come in handy while in port, too, particularly if you’re planning on doing some shopping or walking to and from the cruise ship and town.
What type of shore excursions can I bring my toddler on?
When planning your day in port with a toddler, a family-friendly shore excursion makes for a fun, hassle-free day.
We offer plenty of kid-friendly shore excursions that can be enjoyed by all members of your party. If traveling with a toddler, make sure to choose a shore excursion that doesn’t have an age restriction.
Also keep in mind that an excursion that requires a lot of sitting (like those which include long bus rides in port) won’t necessarily be the best or easiest activity for your toddler Instead, look for excursions that involve short and easy hikes, or an activity they’ll get a kick out of, such as panning for gold during Alaska cruises or a water park excursion in the Caribbean.
Book Your Family Cruise
Ready to enjoy an unforgettable family vacation with your toddler? Browse our cruise itineraries online or contact one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-852-8086.