Kids

Six things to know about Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean

In:
25Sep2017

Taking your kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise means a family vacation to fun and beautiful places to visit.  Along the way, Royal Caribbean provides award winning kids programming that is largely included in your cruise fare.

Before you step aboard, check out these six important tips for a successful time in Adventure Ocean

You can (and should) register on the first day

On the first day of your Royal Caribbean cruise, guests can register their children in Adventure Ocean prior to Adventure Ocean opening.  While you can register kids at any point in the cruise, take advantage of the open house on embarkation day for an optimal experience.

The Cruise Compass will list times when Adventure Ocean is open for registration.  This time is not when Adventure Ocean is open for kids to stay, but for kids to see the area and for parents to ask questions and get acclimated to the program.

It is a good idea to register kids on the first day simply because there is a set time for registration to occur, and it ensures a smooth first night later on.

Adventure Ocean is open on the first day

In the past Royal Caribbean did not open Adventure Ocean on the first day of the cruise, but that has changed in recent years.  

There will be limited hours, but Adventure Ocean will be open.  You will have to check with Adventure Ocean for exact hours, but expect it to be open the first night.

If you are looking to plan dinner, it is our experience Adventure Ocean opens at 8pm on the first day.

Port day hours are different from sea days

Aside from embarkation day, there are two types of Adventure Ocean operating hours: port days and sea days.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will open Adventure Ocean early enough for guests booked on Royal Caribbean shore excursions to drop children off.  Check with the staff on exact times.

Adventure Ocean is mostly complimentary

Up until 10pm, there is no additional cost for Adventure Ocean.  The programming is included in the cruise fare.

From 10pm to 2am, Royal Caribbean offers an after hour option that has an hourly cost for parents that want to let kids stay a bit later. The cost is $7 per hour. 

There is no need to make reservations for after hours, it simply kicks in if you do not pick up the child before 10pm.

There are special events for families

In addition to the Adventure Ocean programming, the Cruise Compass will list special events for families to enjoy, if they so choose.

Depending on your ship, the variety of activities will vary.  There are events like family movies, DreamWorks character meets, art sessions, ice skating and more.

Usually on the first night of the cruise, there will be a special time where many arcade video games are set to free.  Check the Cruise Compass for the exact time.

There is a special dinner option for families

My Family Time Dining is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Pre­cruise, guests can call into Reservations, reserve online, contact their travel agent or certified vacation planner. Or guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­cruise reservations are encouraged.

6 cool things for kids to do on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
12Jan2017

Kids can get just as excited as their parents for a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, because there are lots of fun things for them to do onboard. Cruising with kids is an exercise in energetic adventures, big smiles and hopefully a nap inbetween. In our many Royal Caribbean cruises, we have discovered certain aspects of the cruise that are real winners with our children and wanted to share them with you.

Consider some, or all, of the following fun things for your kids to do on your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise!

Meet DreamWorks characters

Ever since Royal Caribbean partnered with DreamWorks to bring their characters onboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, it has been a big hit. Guests on select Royal Caribbean ships can meet characters from some of the most popular DreamWorks Animation films.

DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and from Madagascar, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins will be available for guests to meet. There are meet locations set up throughout the cruise, with times and spots listed in the Cruise Compass.

Royal Caribbean cruises are great for meeting characters because the lines are quite short and the characters regularly engage in fun antics with the kids.  The interactions are whimsical and make for really great photo opportunities!

Decorate your stateroom door

Your Royal Caribbean stateroom door is made of metal, which means it is magnetic and a great family project prior to the cruise to create the decorations.  It can be a fun family activity to come up with different ways to personalize your door to share with everyone how excited you are for the cruise.

Often you will find other doors decorated with pictures, magnets of various sizes and shapes, leis, and more.  Your kids could draw something to put on the door, or you could help them create name tags to decorate and then put on the door with magnets.

Keep in mind that you will need to supply your own magnets to affix anything to the stateroom door.  Tape is not allowed.

For those less artistically inclined, Royal Caribbean does offer stateroom decorations for purchase that can be delivered and set up for you.  This can be a great way to celebrate a special occasion, or just plain surprise the children.

Eat ice cream by the pool

Near the pools, you will find free soft serve ice cream that is available most times of the day and there is as much of as you want. I do not think there needs to be any more elaborating.

Ride the carousel

If you are going on an Oasis class cruise ship (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas), then your family must go on a carousel ride in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Royal Caribbean commissioned for each ship a hand-crafted carousel that is inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels. These carousels are as pretty look at, as they are fun to ride.  Plus, rides on the carousel are included in your cruise fare.

Be sure to also get some nighttime carousel rides in too, because the carousel and the entire Boardwalk neighborhood are lit up beautifully once the sun goes down.

Decorate a cupcake

What is better than eating cupcakes? Decorating and then eating a cupcake! Many Royal Caribbean ships offer guests the opportunity to learn to decorate cupcakes in a quick and fun class.  There are classes for kids and adults, but the experience is quite similar.

Kids can let their decorating imagination run wild with icing, sprinkles and a host of other toppings during a cupcake decorating class. There is a nominal charge for this experience, but this will be something your children will clamor to do and probably want to do again and again (making a mess and eating cake, what could be better?).

See a movie at night, in the pool

If there are two things kids love, it is swimming and watching movies.  On Royal Caribbean ships, you will regularly find popular feature films shown on the big screen near the pool each evening.  After dinner, you and the kids can hop in the pool and splash away while enjoying a great flick!

Royal Caribbean shows all sorts of films, from recent releases to classics, and adding in the ambiance of a night swim is always a fun treat as well.  Plus, the pools and hot tubs are much less busy at night, so that means more opportunity for your kids to act like kids and enjoy time in the pool while everyone in the family gets to enjoy a great flick.

Dining with kids in Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants

In:
14Dec2015

Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants are one aspect of the cruise experience many guests look forward to each sailing, but just because you have children with you does not mean you cannot enjoy these restaurants.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children younger than 13 in all of its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

How much does it cost for children to eat at specialty restaurant?

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge.

Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Is there a special menu for kids?

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.

Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room.

Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older. 

What if my kids want to eat off the regular adult menu?

In this scenario, you may be charged full price for your children.

It is worth discussing with your waiter, as we have heard of situations where they still charge the children pricing.  

Your mileage may vary, but expect to pay full price for children ordering off the regular menu when there is no kids menu option.

How do I make reservations at a specialty restaurant if I am bringing children?

If you book in advance, you will pay the full price but then it will be adjusted for the children's price as a credit on your SeaPass on board.

Bookings made on board will be charged the reduced rate when booked.

Because the Cruise Planner does not offer pricing for children, we recommend making reservations for a party size that omits the children and then showing up to the reservation with the children and informing the staff your dining party has grown.

This strategy allows guests to not overpay for their dining reservations and require an adjustment later.

What is the pricing for children at a la carte specialty restaurants?

At a la carte specialty restaurants, children are charged based on what they order off the regular menu.

5 Reasons Why Your Baby is NOT Too Young for Royal Caribbean

In:
17Aug2015

A Royal Caribbean cruise is a fantastic family vacation, even if your family consists of babies or toddlers.  

Assuming your infant is old enough legally to cruise (6 months old from North America, 12 months for international and repositioning cruises), taking your toddlers on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a great idea.  

Despite some folks advocating to. "wait for your kids to be old enough to remember the cruise", there are many good reasons to take a little one on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

5. Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

A parent's best friend is the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, which is a facility created just for children up to 36 months old.

The nursery allows parents to drop their infants and toddlers off in a supervised environment, where the kids can watch TV, play with other children, explore and nap.   

The nursery will offer parents a drop-off option in the daytime and evening, while always maintaining an optimum staff-to-child ratio.

For a modest fee per hour ($8 at the time of this blog post), parents can reserve time for their kids here to give parents some time alone to enjoy what Royal Caribbean offers or explore a port.

The nursery staff are trained child care professionals and they will make sure your child is taken care of in the time they are there.  Parents also get a special mobile phone to use on the ship in case the nursery needs to call them or if the parents want to call and check in on things.

The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery is available on select Royal Caribbean ships

4. In-room babysitting

If you are looking for more personalized child care or perhaps are sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship that does not have a nursery, then the in-room babysitting program is for you.

The program is simple, go to Guest Services during your cruise and ask about availability for a babysitter.  Guest Services will ask various qualified crew members if they are available to babysit and if there is a match, the crew member will meet you at your stateroom to watch the kids.

Royal Caribbean charges $19 per hour (at the time of this blog post) to watch children in a stateroom and what is great about in-room babysitting is it allows the kids to remain in their comfort zone and sleep or nap in their own beds.

Just like the nursery, in-room babysitting allows parents time to enjoy dinner, a show or a night out on the ship alone.  

3. Babies 2 Go!

Any parent knows a great deal of the bulk with traveling anywhere with a toddler is all the supplies you need.  Diapers, baby food and wipes are just a few of the things you will typically need when you travel.

Royal Caribbean offers parents the Babies 2 Go! program, where parents can pre-purchase Huggies diapers, wipes and cream, and Gerber organic baby food that will be delivered straight to your stateroom when you arrive on the cruise and even during your cruise.

This gives parents piece of mind for lessening the amount of stuff to pack, especially if you are flying to your cruise port and are limited by how much you can pack due to airline restrictions.

You can purchase the packages by calling (800) 722-5443 in the U.S. or Canada.

2. Baby splash zone

On select Royal Caribbean ships, guests will find a special pool just for little ones that are still wearing diapers.

The baby pool is an ankle deep pool, where infants and toddlers can crawl around and splash to their heart's content.  

Parents can sit on the pool's edge or with their child in the pool as the kids enjoy cooling off, just like the big kids.

1. Memories

If you ask me, the best reason to bring your baby on a Royal Caribbean cruise is for the memories you will make. Just because they are young does not mean they cannot have a great time onboard the ship or in the ports of call you will visit.

The portrait sessions in the evening are among the best opportunities to get professional photos of your kids dressed up.  Moreover, these portrait sessions can give you momentos from an early age that you will look back on fondly for many years.

In addition, there are intangible benefits to bringing a baby with you on a Royal Caribbean cruise, such as meeting their favorite DreamWorks characters, or their first visit to the beach and ocean.   Perhaps it's a ride on the carousel or enjoying the parade on the Royal Promenade. 

Your child may not remember every moment of the cruise, but bringing them on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a positive experience for families and one of the best ways to spend together on a vacation.

Have you brought a young one on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share your experience in the comments!

What you need to know about taking an infant on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
08Jul2015

Taking a Royal Caribbean cruise is a great family vacation for all ages, including infants.  The key to a successful cruise with an infant is to be prepared and find the right sailing for your family.

How old does my infant need to be to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean requires infants be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise to be able to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise. 

For transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii, select South American and other selected cruises, your infant must be at least 12 months old as of the first day of the cruise.

In addition, any cruise that has 3 or more days consecutive at sea will require infants to be 12 months old on the first day of the cruise.

Any children younger than the infant policy will be denied boarding.

Does Royal Caribbean charge infants a cruise fare?

Yes, infants are charged a cruise fare, just like everyone else onboard.

If your infant is the third or fourth passenger, they will usually pay a reduced rate.

Does my infant need a passport?

Ideally you will travel with a passport for your infant because it greatly simplifies the process of traveling by airplane, should an unexpected event occur that causes your family to miss the cruise ship.

United States citizens can travel with a birth certificate in lieu of a passport, but having a passport has tremendous benefits and most travel professionals advise investing in a passport when traveling overseas.

For non-United States residents, you will need a valid passport and in some cases, a visa.

What to look for in a ship

Royal Caribbean has 23 ships in its fleet and each ship offers something different, so it is important to research what each ship has in terms of facilities for your infant and which facilities you absolutely need and which you do not.

Pools

Select Royal Caribbean ships have an infant pool known as the Baby Splash Zone, where children who wear a swim diaper can go into.  Ordinarily, children that wear diapers are prohibited from going into pools onboard the ship, but some of the newer cruise ships now offer an infant pool.

If your cruise has a few sea days, having access to an infant pool can be important, whereas if you are taking a port intensive itinerary, it may not be a factor.

There are Baby Splash Zones on Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.

Nursery

On many Royal Caribbean ships is the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, where parents can drop off infants and toddlers who are too young for the Adventure Ocean program.

The Royal Babies and Tots Nursery is for children between the age of 6 and 36 months old. For a small charge per hour ($8 per hour at the time of this blog post), your child will be supervised by trained professionals.

Keep in mind that the nursery has limited space, so you will want to go there on your first day to reserve times.

Most Royal Caribbean ships now offer a nursery but you should verify the ship you are sailing on does in fact have one.

Stateroom

Picking the perfect stateroom is always a big part of the decision to book a cruise, but when you add an infant into the mix, it adds another layer of complexity.

Royal Caribbean will provide a crib for your child to sleep free of charge, but you will want to also consider the stateroom size and how much space the crib will take up as well as there being enough space for your child to crawl around in.

Keep in mind most staterooms that are not suites will not have a bath tub, so when it comes to bath time, your child will either have to be okay with a shower or you should consider packing an inflatable tub.

You should also look for staterooms that have a room-dividing curtain or wall so that when your infant is sleeping, you can still have the lights on or watch television or read.

Dreamworks Experience

Select Royal Caribbean ships offer the DreamWorks Experience, where there are DreamWorks characters to meet, such as Shrek, Alex the lion, the penguins, Fiona and more.

There are also DreamWorks activities onboard, such as DreamWorks character breakfast, parades, movies in your stateroom and more.

Bring plenty of supplies

One important aspect of planning for a cruise with an infant is having plenty of everything.  

Infants can go through wipes, diapers, formula and even clothing faster than you can anticipate, so it is important to have as much extra as possible, especially since you cannot go to the store to get more supplies on a cruise ship.

Estimate how much supplies your infant will go through for the duration of your cruise and then pad that number by 25% to give yourself some cushion. 

A good tip is to purchase the supplies close to the port instead of paying the airlines for extra baggage or cramming more stuff in your car for the ride to the port.  If you rent a car, stop by a pharmacy near the port.  If you are taking a taxi, negotiate a stop into the fare.

Royal Caribbean does offer a program called Babies On The Go, which is a partnership with Huggies and Gerber to provide supplies on your ship.  If transporting a lot of diapers, baby food and other supplies is not feasible, consider ordering supplies in advance that will be delivered to your stateroom upon your arrival.

Stroller or no stroller?

Yes, you should bring a stroller but leave the jogging stroller at home because it will just take up too much space in your stateroom.

Consider bringing instead an umbrella stroller or even just a baby carrier.  They may not be that useful onboard the ship but when you go to ports, having a means of transporting your infant other than you carrying them will be quite helpful.

In-room babysitting

If your Royal Caribbean ship does not have a nursery or your child does not want to go, there is in-room babysitting as another option.

Babysitting will cost you more than the nursery ($19 per hour, last we checked) but it allows your child to remain in your stateroom while being supervised by Royal Caribbean crew members.

The key to getting a babysitter is you need to speak with Guest Services about getting one.  At that point, they will ask what day and time you would like the babysitter and then Guest Services will see if there are any crew members willing to assist.

In-room babysitting is not a regular service, so what happens is crew members volunteer to take a shift if they have time and are willing.  

I've had good luck with getting a baby sitter but keep in mind it's on a first-come, first served basis and there are limited baby sitters.

Can I get milk for my infant?

There will always be somewhere onboard to get milk during your Royal Caribbean cruise.  During meal hours, the Windjammer is often the simplest way to get a carton or two of milk.  

There is almost always whole milk available, as well as low fat (2%) milk.

When all else fails, room service can provide milk and deliver it to your stateroom 24 hours a day. Keep in mind that a late night service charge of $3.95 applies if you order very late.

You can also "stock pile" milk in your stateroom mini-fridge.  Ask your stateroom attendant to empty the mini-fridge and then you can always grab extra cartons of milk to store in there for later.

Dinner

You are more than welcome to bring your infant to the main dining room for dinner each evening.  

Royal Caribbean will provide high chairs for infants and there is even a special kids menu, if your child is old enough to eat solid foods.

How do I wash bottles and clothing?

You should be able to wash bottles in the stateroom bathroom sink.  Be sure to bring the proper supplies to clean bottles.

For cleaning your infants clothing, you have two options.  First, you can use the sink to wash clothing.  You can bring onboard single use detergent powder packets that you can hand wash in the sink and then air dry in your shower or balcony.

If you need to clean a lot of clothes, Royal Caribbean offers dry cleaning services for a fee per item.  For a better value, look for the "fill a bag" laundry deal that is often available for a flat fee.

Don't ignore naps

This probably falls under basic parenting, but just because you are on a cruise does not mean you should forget about nap time.

In my experience, the closer you can keep kids to their nap schedule, the better time overall everyone will have.  The nurseries have cribs for napping but often going back to your stateroom is the best idea for a nap.

On embarkation day, your stateroom may not be ready until later in the day (usually around 1pm), so be prepared how to handle a nap if your room is not available.  Some good ideas are to delay arrival to the ship until the afternoon or try for a nap in the stroller.

Have you taken an infant on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share your tips in the comments below!

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean

In:
Category: 
01Jan2014

Happy New Year! Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 22 is available for downloading where we look at going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with kids

Family cruising is as popular as ever so this week Matt looks at what Royal Caribbean offers for families that want to cruise with kids, young and old.  There's a lot of options in terms of programs and activities, staterooms and dining options.  

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 22. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Cruising 101: Bringing an infant on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
10Dec2013

Having an infant is a pretty big adjustment to anyone's life but it doesn't mean you can't take a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.  In fact, going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with an infant is a great way to take a meaningful vacation with your new bundle of joy.

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has really changed how they accomodate very young kids with new facilities and activities just for them.  Having brought my own toddler onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise a few times, I can tell you it's very doable but it always helps to be prepared.

Is your infant old enough to cruise?

It is important to note that Royal Caribbean requires infants sailing on a cruise must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. For transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii, select South American and other selected cruises, your infant must be at least 12 months old as of the first day of the cruise.

Bring lots of supplies

Any parent can tell you there is no such thing as too many diapers or enough formula.  On a cruise, the same rule holds true so bringing enough diapers, wipes, formula, and other baby-centric items is critical because buying these items onboard is limited and in port you may have difficulties in finding the brand you prefer.

A few weeks before your cruise, start getting a sense of how many diapers, wipes, formula your child goes through in an average week.  That will give you a ballpark idea of what you need to pack and then probably add another 25% to give yourself some room.

Babies 2 Go!

Royal Caribbean offers a program called "Babies 2 Go!", where parents can pre-order Huggies diapers, wipes, and cream, as well as organic Gerber baby food to their room both before and throughout their cruise. 

I haven't used this program personally as bring ample supplies yourself is likely the most cost-effective solution, but it is good to know this program is available.

You can purchase the packages by calling (800) 722-5443 in the U.S. or Canada.

Flying? Be prepared for air pressure

Just like adults, if you are taking an airplane to your cruise, the air pressure change during takeoff and landing can cause pain in your toddlers ears.  Unlike adults, they don't know the basic strategies to alleviate the pain.

We've often found bringing a bottle is the perfect solution.  Ideally, try to withold food prior to your flight from when you arrive at the airport until you get on the plane.  Once seated on your plane and the plane begins taxing to the runway, give your child a bottle and let him/her eat through takeoff until you reach at least 10,000 feet.

Bring a stroller

Onboard the cruise ship you may not necessarily find a need for a stroller and it definitely takes up room in your small stateroom, but having a stroller is worth it.  In and around ports of call, having a stroller makes everyone's life easier.

It's also smart to bring a stroller that reclines so your child can sleep in the stroller.  Making it easier for your child to nap is always a plus for parents and it allows you to keep doing what you had planned without being confined to the stareroom.

Pack 'n Plays are available in your room

Don't worry about bringing a Pack 'n Play, Royal Caribbean provides one for your child to sleep in, free of charge .

While the pack 'n play does come with a mattress, we've found it more comfortable for our child to take a comforter and fold it up to place on top of the mattress to act as a small mattress topper.  The difference was quickly evident in how much longer our daughter would stay asleep versus the mattress alone.

Make sure you or your travel agent reserve a Pack 'n Play in advance so it is waiting in your stateroom when you embark on the first day.

Royal Babies and Tots Nursery

The best place for your child for when you need or want a break is the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery.  It's not available on all Royal Caribbean ships yet, but if you are cruising with an infant, be sure to look for a cruise that features one.

The Royal Babies and Tots Nursery is for children between the age of 6 and 36 months old.  These faciltiies are made just for young ones and my daughter loved going here. In fact, we always had a hard time convincing her to leave.  For a small charge per hour, you can do what you want while your child is supervised by trained professionals.  

Dinner time alone is well worth paying for it because you can enjoy a meal in the main dining room or specialty restaurant without constantly dealing with your child becoming bored or making a mess.  

In-room babysitting

If the nursery isn't an option, you can always fall back on in-room babysitting.  It's far more expensive than the nursery but allowing your toddler to stay in your room may be a simpler and more ideal solution.

In-room babysitting is provided by the ship's crew on an availability basis.  You will need to go to Guest Services during your cruise and inquire about availability.  I've had good luck with getting a baby sitter but keep in mind it's on a first-come, first served basis and there are limited baby sitters.

At the time of this posting, in-room babysitting costs $19 per hour.

Group Play Time

On all Royal Caribbean ships, you will find Fisher-Price sponsored play time.  These events require parental supervision where lots of fun toys are available for kids to play with.

On some Royal Caribbean cruises, there was a room with set hours that allowed kids and their parents to play with the toys most of the day while other cruises had set times.  In both cases, a few luggage bags full of toys are brought for kids to play with.

This is a communal event, so other toddlers may be present and it's yet something else for toddlers to do onboard. 

Naps, naps, naps

While having your child nap in a stroller is always the best-case scenario, often times it doesn't work.  However it's very important for your sanity and your child's enjoyment to keep their nap schedule going.

On days when your ship is docked, getting back onboard for a nap while in port can be rather simple.  If your ship is tendered, you may need to hold off morning plans in port just because of the slow nature of tenders.

I've often fallen prey to the thought of "we can just power through their nap time" and what ends up happening is an afternoon filled with temper tantrums by child and parent alike.

Bring backup

If it's in the cards, bring grand-parents, friends, aunts, uncles and anyone else with you on your cruise that can lend a hand now and then.  

We all love our kids but getting a break is always welcome and it provides your loved ones with an opportunity to spend time with your child while you can do other things.

No diapers in the pool

Royal Caribbean prohibits any children that wear diapers (even swim diapers) in their pools.  The exception is the baby pool, which is available on a few ships such as Freedom of the Seas.  

This baby pool is about ankle deep on a baby and a few feet across.  Infants and toddlers I've seen in it love it, but that's the only allowed space for swimming.

Another alternative is to bring your own inflatable pool with you.  I've found a few inflatable travel pools that can accomodate an infant (diaper or not) that you can bring onboard.  This may be an alternative for toddlers sailing on Royal Caribbean ships that do not have a baby pool.

Washing infant clothing

It isn't a question of if your infant will soil their clothes, but how often they will.  Royal Caribbean provides laundry services to guests for a fee but you can wash infant clothing in your stateroom for a better price.

You can purchase single use detergent powder packets and wash a few baby clothes at a time in your sink.  Then air dry the clothes in your shower using the laundry line.  

So parents of teeny tots, what have been your best strategies for cruising on Royal Caribbean with a baby? What do you wish someone had told you when you first visited as a parent? Let us know in the comments below.

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