A cruise is a delightful way to take a vacation with the whole family, even when your family includes infants or small children. Traveling to exotic destinations like Mexico, the Caribbean or The Bahamas on a floating resort packed with fun activities for all ages makes the cruise experience an ideal way to show your little ones the world. While making memories is a major priority, all parents consider the comfort and safety of their children the most important factor when planning a cruise. Thankfully, it only takes a small amount of preparation, plus a few choice items packed into your luggage, to childproof any stateroom and give you an added peace of mind.
Choose a Child-Friendly Stateroom
Carnival welcomes infants as young as 6 months and offers several stateroom types suitable for families. The best choice depends on your child’s age, how many family members you’re cruising with, personal preferences and budget. Consider the room’s style and location to pick a stateroom that best suits your family. And if you need one, remember to request a crib at the time of booking.
Family-Friendly Staterooms accommodate up to five. For larger groups that wish to stay together, connecting adjacent rooms are available. Some also have an extra half-bathroom. Be sure to request these at the time of booking.
Family Harbor Staterooms are roomier and feature charming nautical décor along with several upgrades. They are situated close to the Family Harbor Lounge and come with exclusive access to the lounge, where breakfast and snacks are available, along with board games, video games, and family movies. Opt for a Family Harbor Stateroom and you will also enjoy one complimentary evening of Night Owls babysitting service, as well as free kids’ meals in most premium restaurants.
Suites are the largest available staterooms and the best choice if having more space is a top priority. Suites sleep up to five, and all feature a balcony. On select ships, suites have a tub and suite guests enjoy VIP check-in, priority embarkation and debarkation, and a mini-fridge, all of which are very handy when traveling with young children.
Bathrooms: The only stateroom option that features a bathtub is a suite. With all other room types, you’ll have to be comfortable with taking your small children into the shower or giving them sponge baths. You might want to bring a non-slip rubber bath mat to put in the bottom of the shower. Another option is a small inflatable tub. Both are lightweight and pack down pretty small.
Balconies: The benefits of a room with a balcony are obvious — beautiful views, ocean breezes and a private place to sit in the sun — but for families cruising with young children, they can be a cause for concern. However, balconies on Carnival ships are solid Plexiglas (so there are no gaps for little ones to try to squeeze through) and by law are all over 42 inches tall, making falls extremely unlikely. Further, childproof doors leading to balconies are very heavy, making them all but impossible for even the most persistent toddler to open. Of course, children need to be supervised on or around a balcony at all times. Balconies are a very nice option to have when you’re watching over napping children, as you’ll be able to do so while lounging in the fresh air and sunshine. But, if having access to a balcony would make you anxious despite these factors, plenty of interior and ocean-view rooms without balconies are available as well.
How to Childproof a Stateroom
Mobile babies, toddlers, and small children have an amazing ability to get into things in the blink of an eye, but if you’re a parent, you know what to do: childproof your stateroom as soon as you settle in. As an easy option, buy a full childproofing kit and throw it into your carry-on luggage, or you can find and pack the following childproofing tools individually according to your needs:
- Electrical outlet covers
- Door handle covers
- Padded corner protectors for furniture
- Drawer and cabinet latches (removable adhesive versions are available)
- Toilet lid locks
- Nightlights and flashlights (some flashlights operate as a nightlight while charging). Glow sticks are a fun alternative.
- Rubber doorstop to wedge inside your door
Also remember to:
- Put remote controls, telephones, power strips and other tempting items out of reach
- Place heavy luggage where it can’t easily be knocked over
- Stow away medications and toiletries
More Tips for Cruising With Children
- Although there are clinics in every ship, bringing a small first aid kit is a good idea for all cruise passengers, even more so for those with rough-and-tumble toddlers.
- Parents with infants should know that baby supplies, such as diapers, wipes, formula and baby food, are NOT available for purchase on board. Bring plenty of these items in your luggage, or prepare to stock up while in port.
- Distilled water for formula is available for purchase through room service, or you may bring your own supply in your carry-on luggage.
- If you will need to store breast milk during your cruise, Carnival advises that you bring a small cooler and request ice from room service. You may also store breast milk in a refrigerator at the guest service desk.
- A small stuffed toy or blanket from home can help small children feel comfortable while staying in an unfamiliar room.
Have No Worries When Cruising With Kids
There’s no such thing as a totally worry-free time when you have kids, but with a little extra planning, a cruise can come pretty close. With just a few handy items and merely minutes spent childproofing your stateroom, you can relax and fully enjoy the experience of cruising to amazing destinations with your kids in tow.