Tips for Cruising with Toddlers

A cruise is one of my favourite ways to take an easy, relaxing holiday. I love the comfort, the good food and all the activities you can enjoy on a cruise. I have found that many parents will advise you against trying to take a toddler with you. However, in my experience, if you are suitably prepared, cruising with a toddler can be fun for your whole family. Why not make a checklist ahead of time, then you are sure not to forget any of the necessities. Once you are on the boat it might be too late.

Get on a child friendly boat

Some boats are significantly more focused on families and I would strongly recommend picking a family friendly ship. Check on the size of the rooms and find out whether you will be able to get a crib in there. There may be a limited number of cribs and you may have to book one. Find out whether your cabin will have a bathtub, getting a toddler clean in a shower is tricky. Have a close look at the cruise’s website and ask your travel agent if you have any questions. Many ships have a minimum age for passengers.

I prefer a happy toddler

Examples of more kid friendly cruise lines are: Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. A couple of the positive services that Disney Cruise Lines offer that you might look for on other cruises is their nursery and toddler friendly programs. At the nursery you can drop your toddler for a couple of hours. The nurseries have a number of age appropriate toys to keep toddlers happy and busy. Additionally they have toddler friendly shows to watch as well as a movie theater.

If you are on a cruise with your spouse you should take turns doing grownup activities and looking after the kids.

Nice looking boat


Different toddlers have different tolerances for motion sickness. When feeding your toddler, don’t overdo it, if their stomachs are completely full or empty they are more likely to get sick. They also need to stay away from greasy or acidic food. If your toddler is prone to seasickness you might want to discuss options with your pediatrician. I have had success with using seasickness bands on my kids. These bands squeeze pressure points to reduce seasickness.

Of course there are other forms of sickness, that can cause you problems. For instance your toddler’s sensitive skin may have a reaction to the detergent and starch the ship uses, on their sheets. So, you might want to take your toddler’s own sheets with you.

Stick to their schedule

As far as possible you should stick to your toddler’s normal schedule in terms of eating and sleeping. You should check to see if your boat has 24 hour room service and whether their meal schedule is flexible.

Things to take with you

Diapers and swim diapers can be expensive or hard to find. Note that most ships don’t allow the use of swim diapers.  Also toddlers tend to drink more when they are travelling, so you should pack extra diapers.

You may want to take a compact umbrella stroller, with you, to take your toddler for walks on the deck.

Your check list should include you and your toddlers passports,  medical insurance information and contact details for your relatives. 

Space is clearly going to be an issue. Don’t take too much clothes, for either of you, but make sure that what you have is easy to wash. Most cruises won’t allow toddlers in the pool so check before you pack their bathing suits. Check whether the cruise, you are taking, has public laundry facilities.

Getting a balcony

Balconies are expensive, but if you get one you can sit on the balcony with a baby monitor while your toddler takes their naps.

I hope that the tips I shared here will help you and your family have a carefree and enjoyable cruise.




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