Tips for cruising with an infant
Cruising is such a relaxing vacation but if you throw an infant in the mix it could drastically change. Eric and I have always been big cruisers. It is so easy to cruise out of Florida, it's cheaper than flying to a resort, and you get to see multiple places (with only unpacking once). As Eric’s 30th birthday approached we knew we wanted to do something special and our mind went straight to taking a cruise.
I’m not going to lie, as the cruise got closer and closer I had my typical vacation ready excitement, but a bigger part of me was nervous. This was our first cruise as a family of three and I had no clue what to expect when cruising with a 9 month old. It turns out that the large amount of nerves I had was for nothing. Yes, our cruise was different than the previous ones we have been one but looking back, there is no need to be nervous when sailing with your little one.
Tips for smooth sailing with an infant
- Positive Attitude: I can't tell you how many times people made a sly comment about us being brave, how different the cruise would be than the previous, that it wouldn't be relaxing at all. I 100% agree to all of those statements, however Eric and I liked to think of all of those in a positive way. Yes, of course traveling will never be the same. But if we don't have the right mindset then Olivia will never experience the world like we want her to.
- Choosing the Right Cruise: When choosing a cruise with a little one, make sure to look at the ports of call. We made sure to choose a cruise that did not have any ports with a tender. The last thing I wanted to deal with was having to tender back to the ship if Olivia was upset or tired after a long day on the island.
- Embarkation Day: To make embarkation easier we did a few things. First, we spent the night in Port Canaveral. Originally we did this to start vacation early. But it ended up making the first day of our cruise so much easier. We didn’t have to wake up super early and drive to the port. We were able to relax (and get in Olivia's first nap at the hotel) before setting sail. Eric and I also chose to pay the extra money and park at the port, and not take a shuttle. I think this saved me a lot of stress about both arriving to the port and leaving the port, when we got back. Because I am a platinum member on Carnival we didn’t have any lines when getting to the port and checking in. If you are a new cruiser and have a little one, I would pay for the Faster to the Fun service. It makes check in easier but also gives other perks when onboard.
- Packing: I will say I over-packed. Since we don’t have to pay for baggage on a cruise, packing too much wasn’t an issue. But know, there are laundry services on board (do it yourself or you can pay for your cruise line to do it). I wouldn’t over-pack too much on burp cloths, blankets, and clothes. But, make sure you have plenty of diapers and wipes - these aren’t sold on the ship. I also made sure to pack baby food, teething crackers, and Olivia’s favorite toy. The toy was a life saver!
Some miscellaneous items I packed that were helpful were:
- beach toys
- pool float
- rechargeable stroller fan- we would clip it onto the chairs on the pool deck if there wasn't a breeze
- bibs and spoons
- bottles, bottle brush, and soap
- small toys
Baby Carrier: We brought out Lillee Baby carrier and our Beach Front Baby Sling. I loved that the sling could get wet. I would wear it in the ocean or pools and it was perfect for the hot weather. These were both lifesavers! We had a stroller but NEVER used it. Olivia slept in the carrier multiple times and they were great to use around the ship and on the islands.
Dining: If you sail Carnival I would recommend getting a set dining time and not your time dining. In the past Eric and I always did your time dining. This time we knew for Olivia's sake a set time would be best. It was so nice to get to dinner and always having a high chair at the table. Our wait staff was amazing. The first night we ordered Olivia a banana and a fruit plate. Of course, every night after, they always had that ready for Olivia as well. Olivia was always well taken care of. But it was so amazing to see our wonderful waiters interact with Olivia and dance with her each night. This is one of my favorite things about Carnival. The staff goes above and beyond.
As we are onto planning our next vacation, it is tought to decide what type of vacation to do. I love how easy a cruise is but I would love to have Olivia explore other parts of the world as I have.