In February, we took our 7 month old on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. It was a fantastic time. In an effort to ensure your time is even better, here are my 5 tips for making it seamless.
1. Bring a small, lightweight stroller. We struggled on whether to bring this one or the jogging stroller. I’m so glad we went with the small one. We could stroll baby down the hallways and slide past the housekeeping carts. I watched other people with bulky strollers struggle in all areas. I personally had to get out of my seat at one point to accommodate a bulky stroller in the cafeteria. While you couldn’t store anything in our stroller, we could easily get around. There were so many staircases where my husband just picked up the stroller, both on the cruise and on excursions. We even found we could prop this stroller backwards on its wheels and baby could sleep lying down.
2. Bring games, books, or other things you like to do. With an infant there is definitely more time in the room and more down time. We met people who brought their mother-in-law, but if you can’t afford that, you are going to have lots of quiet time during naps. There is also a care center (at least on Norwegian) and for $20 a shift they will watch baby. I didn’t feel comfortable using that at night because I knew I still had to be up at 6 am when Tyler woke up. The TV on the cruise was awful. I read four books in a week and coveted the people I saw playing Scrabble and cards. I definitely wished I had thought of things for my husband and I to do at night while baby slept.
3. If baby is in diapers, get a pool or splash pad. I found out right before we left for our cruise that swim diapers were not allowed in the pool. How was baby going to stay cool and have fun? We invested in a splash pad from Amazon and it was the best purchase we made. It doubled as a bathing unit in the room for him and worked wonderfully on the pool deck. I had many other infants sharing my pad who weren’t as lucky as to bring something.
4. Book excursions when you get there. I was worried about this one… would we be able to do anything with baby? Would they charge us? They didn’t charge us for Baby T, but there were some things we couldn’t do because of his age. I still feel we were able to have a wide selection and book excursions we were interested in, even though we waited. We also spent a few destinations spots just hiring a driver and getting a tour that way. Baby T slept through most of our stops anyways.
5. Have Fun! This seems obvious as you are on vacation, but it can get overwhelming have a little one. We made sure that we did the things we most wanted to do. I was a bit bummed we never saw the ship after 8pm, but we worked with Baby T’s schedule and what we wanted to do. He sat at the restaurant for a Happy Hour and we worked it out so that I could still swim with dolphins.
Other Helpful Tips:
* We booked on Southwest. Normally I don’t like their “pick your own seat” policy, but it worked in our favor. Each time we asked if it was a full flight. It never was, so even though we booked baby as a lap seat, we set up shop with him in a seat in between us. Each flight we were able to stay that way and it worked great!
* Utilize the buffet for baby. Baby T has so much fun trying new foods— fish, Indian (well he didn’t like that one), Jello, ice cream, meatballs, french fries. I always kept a bib and spoon in my purse in case we were going to eat. I only brought minimal baby food and used that mainly for excursions off the boat. Look how much he wants another bite of that ice cream!
*We booked a Mini-Suite and I’m so glad we did. It was worth the extra money. We spent a lot more time in our room,so it was nice to have a balcony and extra space. Even with the extra space, we still decided against the free crib and let Baby T sleep in between us. But having some extra room really came in handy.