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Cruising with an infant...


Cruisingmom
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Hi All,

My husband and I are experienced cruisers, but have a cruise planned soon where we will be taking our 11 month old with us.  We will be travelling on the Adventure of the Seas (so no royal babies nursery on board) and hear there is no more baby sitting services offered?  We have no idea what to expect and are looking for any suggestions/tips for cruising with an infant. Also, does RC charge gratuities for infants?

 

Thanks in advance!

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While I've travel extensively with an infant, I've never cruised. Adventure does have an baby slash zone so you can bring swim diapers and use them in that area.  In general, bring more diapers, clothes and food than you think you will need.    @Matt has brought his kids on around that age and written several articles.  His wife also has momsoftheseas.com blog.

Here are a few of Matt's articles:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2013/12/10/cruising-101-bringing-infant-royal-caribbean-cruise

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2015/07/08/what-you-need-know-about-taking-infant-royal-caribbean-cruise

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So, we brought our kids on a cruise with us for the first time a couple years ago. They were 9,5 & 1 at the time. We love cruising because it's such a lazy vacation, where we don't have to do anything that resembles work. Taking the kids was a completely different experience, even on Allure that has a great childcare program. It is still a great vacation, but you need to get your mindset right before you go. It isn't going to be what you are used when cruising alone. After that cruise we said "we will never bring the kids again" because there was far more work involved than we had planned. Then a couple weeks went by and we realized we set ourselves up for disappointment with unreal expectations. We still had a great time, but we didn't get our mindset right that there will still have to be parenting involved and dealing with an unreasonable toddler and so on. 

After thinking about it, I changed my mind about bringing the kids. I now have 2 more cruises booked with the kids again. I just know that the day time is going to be focused on family activity and in the evening we'll drop them at the kids club while we get some alone time for shows and dinner. When it's all said and done, where else can you keep the kids so easily entertained and have the ability to drop them off pretty much any time you want?

There is never a doubt that the kids will have an amazing time, it's whether it will still feel like vacation(totally relaxing) and not a family trip(not very relaxing, but still worthwhile). I think it's a good mix of both.

I know this doesn't all apply if the adventure doesn't have child care, but I just want to share my thoughts on cruising with kids and having the right state of mind.

 

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I will say, though I am neither suggesting or not suggesting.  That you can go to the front desk and ask to have the automatic gratuities waved for your small child.  Then you can opt to tip various crew members that you feel deserve the additional tip caused by the infant.   (Maybe the stateroom attendant did a great job making sure the crib was set up every night  or the dining room waiter provided applesauce and milk).   I know it was hard for me to swallow the 3rd person gratutity when our infant slept in our bed, so no additional work for the stateroom attendant, and she ate only what we brought for her, bottles and pouches.

We would then be able to tip the Adventure Ocean staff on the ships that DID have a nursery...which doesn't apply to you. 

Couple other tips...

We still tried to go to some shows but sat in the very last row in those kind of bar stool seats, so we could leave the moment the little one woke or got fussy.  Sometimes they like the singing and dancing.

You're technically not supposed to push a stroller through the casino.

Viking Crown is a great place during the day to just run around because it is USUALLY empty.  Sometimes if there are other people up there it might not be a great place.

They often have a family play time in Adventure Ocean where you can come and they set out a bunch of baby toys and you and other parents just watch them play.

Bring a few floaty pool/bath toys to play with in the pool area.  They are always a hit (we always bring extra because you may lose one or often there are other kids in there that want to play with your kid).

Take turns watching the kid in the pool.  You want to relax by the pool, but you also have to keep your eagle eyes on your kid.  I find it best if we take turns so that we aren't both watching at the same time.

All specialty dining, including Johnny Rockets are free for kids...not sure whether you're feeding the little one, cut up hot dogs yet or anything.  (might be a tad early)

We also buy a cheap toy or 2 that we give them on the boat that is new that they will play with.  (A little dinosaur, or super hero or my little pony).  We are often losing and finding them throughout the cruise though, so don't get anything expensive.

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49 minutes ago, JasonL said:

So, we brought our kids on a cruise with us for the first time a couple years ago. They were 9,5 & 1 at the time. We love cruising because it's such a lazy vacation, where we don't have to do anything that resembles work. Taking the kids was a completely different experience, even on Allure that has a great childcare program. It is still a great vacation, but you need to get your mindset right before you go. It isn't going to be what you are used when cruising alone. After that cruise we said "we will never bring the kids again" because there was far more work involved than we had planned. Then a couple weeks went by and we realized we set ourselves up for disappointment with unreal expectations. We still had a great time, but we didn't get our mindset right that there will still have to be parenting involved and dealing with an unreasonable toddler and so on. 

After thinking about it, I changed my mind about bringing the kids. I now have 2 more cruises booked with the kids again. I just know that the day time is going to be focused on family activity and in the evening we'll drop them at the kids club while we get some alone time for shows and dinner. When it's all said and done, where else can you keep the kids so easily entertained and have the ability to drop them off pretty much any time you want?

There is never a doubt that the kids will have an amazing time, it's whether it will still feel like vacation(totally relaxing) and not a family trip(not very relaxing, but still worthwhile). I think it's a good mix of both.

I know this doesn't all apply if the adventure doesn't have child care, but I just want to share my thoughts on cruising with kids and having the right state of mind.

 

We have a couple younger children and have cruised with them since they are infants. Adding to the comment above I would say try to book the largest room you can afford or obtain based on availability. With two young kids we had all the accessories (pack and plays, snacks, bottles, diapers exc) and it’s nice to have the space! The balcony rooms are tight so we now book grand suite and larger only and it ends up being more of an enjoyable vacation. 

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1 hour ago, tonyfsu21 said:

We have a couple younger children and have cruised with them since they are infants. Adding to the comment above I would say try to book the largest room you can afford or obtain based on availability. With two young kids we had all the accessories (pack and plays, snacks, bottles, diapers exc) and it’s nice to have the space! The balcony rooms are tight so we now book grand suite and larger only and it ends up being more of an enjoyable vacation. 

We have booked oceanview family or as it's now called Ultra Spacious Oceanview(used to be cabin code FO, now it's 1K). It is so so so nice. We bring all 5 in that one room and it's huge, plenty of space. It has been about the same price to book a family oceanview or a balcony, and it's about 330 sq. ft!

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If you are not in a suite, the stateroom doors are narrow... use a small stroller.  A Phil and Ted E3 Sport DOES NOT FIT through an Explorer of the Seas inside stateroom door.....   Unless I removed one wheel or folded it..   It was very nice in Old San Juan cobblestone streets, and both boys could nap at the same time (like that ever happened).  It is easier to get around hallway carts and past other strollers and scooters with a narrower stroller, it will be easier in the elevator, too....  

Bring lots of diapers, and any child medications that may be needed.  

We tipped.  The staff did more for us when the boys were small than ever before (or since, they are teens now) from bringing and extra chair to dinner when one fell asleep, providing fruit cups right away...and packing up "to go" snacks and sending sippie cups through the dishwasher for us.  Then one boy had a bloody nose in our room, and 30 minutes later it was like it never happened - because our room steward called for the "backup cleaning squad"

I never used ship babysitting, it was not available.  There was Royal .. tots and babies? play time for an hour each morning and afternoon, with fisher price baby and toddler items and a staff member from Adventure Ocean present.  

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On the first day , go to Adventure Ocean and ask about the toy lending library. Our last cruise on the Adventure was in May and they had bags of toys available to borrow. Go early though because they only had 6 ? 

 

We have cruised with infants a lot. I agree lower your expectations ? it made a big difference for us to plan on doing pretty much nothing. That said we actually really enjoy cruising with little kids. ?

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