Family Travel / Travel Tips

Tips for Cruising with a Baby

A Cruise can be one of the most relaxing ways to holiday. But can you take your baby and still enjoy your time? Well, you may need to change your expectations for your holiday, but cruising with a baby is possible and can still be a very relaxing experience.

man and baby on deck of cruise ship

Tips for Booking Your Cruise

Before you book your cruise, it is important to check how old your baby has to be. It is best to check directly with your cruise line, but generally this is 6 months old. On some cruise lines infants can actually sail for free. This can be a huge factor on your decision to take your baby on your cruise. If it your first time taking a cruise, make sure you read our Tips for Your First Family Cruise.

Most cruise lines require your baby to be 6 months old. 

Here are some other things to consider when booking a cruise with your baby:

1. Can your baby use the pool?

Many cruises will require your child to be toilet trained in order for them to use the main pool. Some cruise ships will have a secondary kids pool or splash pad that your child will be allowed to use. If you are heading to a warm tropical destination, you should check with your individual ship to see if your baby will be allowed to swim. 

2. Will a travel cot be provided?

Most cruise lines will provide you with a travel cot for your baby. Make sure you specify that you will be cruising with a baby and need a travel cot. Don’t forget to get the confirmation!

On the day that you board the ship, it is likely that the travel cot will not yet be set up. If you need it for your babies nap, just ask one of the staff if they are able to get it earlier!

3. What room should I book?

When booking your room, affordability is one of the main factors. However, cruise cabins are very small; and once you add a travel cot and a pram into the room there is little space left to move around. So, if you have the flexibility to choose then book a cabin that will provide you with a little more space. 

Additionally, interior cabins do not have any windows. This can make it difficult for your baby to distinguish between night and day, making it harder to get a good nights sleep! 

Booking a cabin with a balcony is perfect for taking a cruise with your baby. These cabins are generally bigger, with large windows to let in natural light. The balcony also provides a great place for you to relax while your child is asleep, so that you can be near them without fear of waking them up!

TIP: It may be worth it to spend the extra money on the right cabin, as it will make for a more comfortable holiday. 

4. Are there baby sitting options?

Some cruises will offer a baby sitting service at an additional cost. This is the perfect way for you to spend some alone time or join in with ship activities. Check to see if this is available for your cruise.

What to Pack for Your Baby

Pram: Cruise ships are huge, so a pram is essential for moving your baby and all the baby things around. It is a great option, because you can pack your pram and not have to come back to your cabin throughout the day. It is important that your pram is compact, especially if you are staying in a smaller cabin.

You can also use your pram for naps on the go, so you can make the most of your cruise. 

Baby Food: If your baby is eating, it might be a good idea to bring your own supply of food. While some cruise lines will mash or puree food, not all offer this service. Be sure to check with your cruise line before you leave. Either way, you will need your own supply to use for shore excursions.

Disposable Nappies: Make sure you take enough disposable nappies for the duration of your cruise. Most cruise lines will not sell nappies or wipes, and laundry costs for reusable nappies will be exceptionally high. Also, don’t forget to take swim nappies if your baby is able to use the ships pool!

Warm Clothes: Regardless if you are going to a cold or warm destination, make sure you pack some warm clothes for your baby. Cruise ships tend to be well air-conditioned and if you are on deck while sailing the wind can make it feel quite cool.

You will need warm clothes for your baby, regardless of where you are sailing.

Formal Wear: Most cruises will have at least one formal dinner. If you are cruising with a baby, don’t forget to bring a cruise themed formal outfit for your baby for these evenings. Not only will it make for a cute photo, but the photo will also be a great souvenir!

Medicine: A cruise ship is a brand new environment for your baby, filled with lots of people and new experiences. Make sure you take along your baby medicine kit.

View of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship on the Water

What to Expect for Boarding Day:

1. Expect to Wait in Long Lines

Boarding a cruise is not as simple as walking on the ship. It is closer related to going through airport security. So be prepared for long lines and lots of waiting.

To make your experience more relaxing for you and your baby, use a baby carrier. It will give you free hands and a comfortable place for your baby. It will also save you from taking your baby in and out of a pram when going through security.

TIP: Ask if you can go in the limited mobility line so the wait doesn’t have to be so long for your baby. They may allow you through if there are not many people using the limited mobility line. This can make your boarding experience much smoother and easier when cruising with a baby.

2. Pack Necessities for the Whole Day

You won’t get your bags till evening, pack for the whole day!

Once you have boarded the ship, you will have to wait for your luggage, which normally doesn’t come until later in the afternoon. Make sure you pack any necessities that you will need for your first day, so your baby stays happy and you don’t have to wait to start having fun!

Also, don’t expect your cot to be set up in your cabin for naptime. So be prepared for your baby to take a nap in your carry sling or pram.

3. You & Your Baby Must Attend the Muster Drill

All cruise guest must participate in the muster drill, your baby included. Some cruises will allow you to take your baby in the pram, while others don’t. If your baby is having a nap, be prepared to have to wake them. If you are taking a back-to-back cruise you will have to attend the muster drill on the second leg of your journey.

woman and baby on deck of cruise ship

Tips for Onboard Your Cruise

1. How to Manage Naps While Cruising

Use white noise to mask the sounds of the ship and help your baby sleep!

Using a pram for naps will mean that you don’t have to spend your precious time in the cabin each time your baby takes a nap. Have a comfortable pram and a familiar blanket to help your baby nap on the go.

If your baby is susceptible to waking up from noise, try using white noise. The constant noise helps to drown out other sounds, while also helping your baby to relax. I suggest downloading a white noise app on your phone! This is a life saver for us when cruising with a baby.

2. Give Your Baby Playtime

It is important that you give your baby the opportunity to move around and explore. There are very few places on a cruise ship that are suitable for a baby to be on the floor, so your baby may begin to feel cooped up. Most cruises will have a designated baby play area, so be sure to make use of it.

If you are not prepared to spend too much time in a baby play area, try to find a quiet lounge where your baby will be free to explore. 

3. Cruise Ships Don’t Have Baths

Cabins on most cruises have showers only – they do not have baths. So if your baby is use to having a bath every night, be prepared to introduce them to taking a shower while on your cruise.

4. Make Friends with the Staff

Cruise ship staff love babies and will be more than happy to entertain your child for a short time. This is great for when you are eating a meal!

5. How to Wash Your Babies Clothes While Cruising

We all know babies go through clothes very fast. If you need clothes to be cleaned there are laundry services on board. However this can be quite expensive, so you can also take some detergent and hand wash items in your cabin. There are generally clotheslines in the shower, where you can dry your washing.

In saying this, while we were on our cruise with Royal Caribbean through SE Asia, we experience a nice poo explosion which ended up making quite a mess! So we opted to pay for the onboard laundry services which was a life saver as our clothes were already quite limited. Have you had any horrible experiences like this?? Share your story in the comments!

6. Make Sure You Take a Break

The entire cruise experience can be very overwhelming for your baby. If you notice your baby is having a difficult time, try taking a break somewhere quiet (like your cabin) and spend some one on one time with your baby.

family with baby on deck of cruise ship

Tips for Shore Excursions with Your Baby

Many cruise lines have age minimums for organized shore excursions. So make sure you check if your baby is able to join. However, even if your child does not meet the age minimum requirement you can still arrange your own shore excursion activities.

When choosing your activities, make sure you don’t book a long day unless your baby can handle it. It is better to book just one activity, so that you can head back to the ship early if needed.

Another option is to stay on board the ship instead of heading to shore. This is when the ship is less busy, making it easier to do activities and use the facilities on board.

Tips for Cruise Evenings with Your Baby

1. Opt for Early Dining When Cruising with a Baby

On a cruise each cabin is assigned a dining time and location. When booking your cruise, make sure you request to dine early. It will be much easier to enjoy your meal while your baby is still happy and not over tired.

2. Make Friends with the Staff

When dining, each table is assigned a waiter and a butler who will attend to you for the duration of your cruise. Be nice and make friends with the staff, and they will be more than happy to help entertain your baby while you eat.

3. You Can Still Enjoy the Night Entertainment

Inclusive of your cruise will be an array of nighttime entertainment, including theatre shows, comedy acts and musicals. Working out how to experience these can be difficult when you have to put your baby to sleep for the night.

Try putting your little one to sleep in the pram, as you do for naps. This way you can take them to the shows, but you may want to use white noise to mask the sound of the entertainment and crowds. You will have to transfer them to their bed once you get back to the cabin, so this option is more suitable to babies who transfer easily!

Another option is to alternate nights between parents. While one parent goes out for the evening, the other stays at the cabin to watch your baby. This will allow your baby to remain in their bed once they are down, but will mean attending the entertainment solo for the parents.

If your cruise offers an in-cabin babysitting, you can use this service for a night out. It may be worth the splurge for a night of unique entertainment together.

However if none of these options suit you, you will have to put your nighttime expectations aside. Instead, be prepared to turn in for early nights of sipping wine on your balcony or catching up on your favourite Netflix shows.

man looking at sunset from cruise ship

How to Manage Nighttime Sleep

It is important to realise that your babies sleep patterns are likely to change for the duration of your cruise. I suggest throwing routine out the window and embracing less sleep! Here are some things that will affect your baby’s sleep, and the best way to manage them:

Late Nights: Regardless of whether or not you attend any night shows, your nights will be later. Cruise life is busy and your dining experience takes time. Even if you have the early seating dinner will take up to over an hour to move through all the courses, so it is likely that you won’t finish eating until after 7:00.

To help you through this, adjust your babies sleep time to be later. This will also allow you to have a slight sleep in the next day. You could also consider letting your little one sleep in the pram while you dine. Just be aware that dining halls are often very loud so you may need white noise to help block out the sounds.

Book a cabin with a balcony for more space and a place to be when your baby sleeps.

Close Quarters: Cruise cabins are very small, so your baby will be sleeping right next to you. It can become difficult not to wake each other up. I suggest booking a cabin with a balcony, so that you have your own space to relax once the baby has gone down for the night.

Being so close to other cabins can make it difficult to let your baby settle alone, as you try to not wake other passengers. Make sure you pack a flashlight, or use your phone light, so you can easily make your way through the cabin to your baby.


Although cruising with a baby can be very challenging, it does come with plenty of rewards. Spending this time together, as you explore new places, can be a unique experience to share as a family. And you can still experience a relaxing holiday, without having to leave your little one at home. Use these tips for cruising with a baby to help plan a holiday your whole family will enjoy!

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