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Toddler UNDER 3 years old on a ship with no nursery?

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Strollers: umbrellas are GREAT.  take up little space and  can easily maneuver on board.   its the giant behemoths that have room for a 200 pound Great Dane  with stuff hanging everywhere that we have problems with.

 

since the ship being considered has no  nursery. it will be basically  be a zero  adult alone time vacation.   for some that's okay, for others, its a nightmare.  and I am firmly in the camp  of ' 'parents  need alone adult time in order to be better parents '

 

 also factor in the fact that you need to schlep along EVERYTHINg you  need for a week at home.. and then double it.   there is very little on board to replenish your stock and what there is is stupidly expensive.  

 

does the ship have a splash zone  for the  non potty trained set?   

 

if you are dead set  on bringing Junior, book a ship that HAS a nursery. even one night  with just you and the spousal unit can do wonders.  

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1 hour ago, cello56 said:

 

While the 18 month old might not remember much, WE certainly do! Family memories are not just for the those that remember! I can't imagine taking family photos and looking back and realizing one was missing because we were too lazy to make the effort to bring her along too. 

Mom of 5, all have been left at home at some point with the grandparents, especially for our adult only vacations (including a cruise). They are all unscarred from the experience.

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29 minutes ago, spookwife said:

Strollers: umbrellas are GREAT.  take up little space and  can easily maneuver on board.   its the giant behemoths that have room for a 200 pound Great Dane  with stuff hanging everywhere that we have problems with.

 

since the ship being considered has no  nursery. it will be basically  be a zero  adult alone time vacation.   for some that's okay, for others, its a nightmare.  and I am firmly in the camp  of ' 'parents  need alone adult time in order to be better parents '

 

 also factor in the fact that you need to schlep along EVERYTHINg you  need for a week at home.. and then double it.   there is very little on board to replenish your stock and what there is is stupidly expensive.  

 

does the ship have a splash zone  for the  non potty trained set?   

 

if you are dead set  on bringing Junior, book a ship that HAS a nursery. even one night  with just you and the spousal unit can do wonders.  

 I think you're right and we should switch to a cruise with a nursery.  Lesson learned, I had no idea that there were no options on a few ships (since they eliminated in-room babysitting).

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16 hours ago, blueridgemama said:

I vote for leave him with grandma/grandpa or a relative. A 17 month old is not going to enjoy a cruise and you will enjoy your cruise more if you are not constantly worrying about him. Wait another couple of years for that great family cruise when he can have so much more fun and actually enjoy all the great stuff on a family cruise.

Agreed!!  We never cruised when my kids were that young but I also wouldn't have felt comfortable or ever relaxed if I had.

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31 minutes ago, mjkacmom said:

Mom of 5, all have been left at home at some point with the grandparents, especially for our adult only vacations (including a cruise). They are all unscarred from the experience.

Ditto, only not of 5, just 3 🙂  But I had, and needed, some of those solo and couple trips and it's been a lot of fun now to take my kids back to places or things I enjoyed previously on my own.  None of my children have held it against me I ever traveled without them, and yes, we enjoyed most every vacation we also took them on but the ones when they were toddlers it was rarely worth spending the money for that experience because it's double the work.  Now on an extended family trip where you have grandparents or aunts/uncles and get a night or meal on your own, then yes, those can be worthwhile.  I will fully admit though it's much more fun taking them now as adults!  

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Posted (edited)

Our son has been cruising with us since he was 2.  He is now 13.   When he was a toddler we just planned and expected a different cruise experience.  It was fine and I don't regret it at all.  

 

We were up early and usually back in the cabin early.  We always booked a balcony so we could enjoy that during nap time.  Or, I would stroll him out onto the quiet promenade deck,  grab a chair, and our son would fall asleep in his stroller while I relaxed and listened to the sea.  

 

Most ships have a water play area for little ones.  

 

The dining staff was always fantastic.  I loved the relaxation of not cooking or cleaning.  

 

We did bring an umbrella stroller and had no problems with it.  My  mother-in-law traveled with us many times and we would get connecting cabins.  That worked out great.   

 

If you choose to take your toddler.... just understand it won't be like previous cruises without the toddler.   For us, that was ok. 

 

Happy Sailing 🙂

 

Edited by SUSIEK

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As a parent of a 3 year old boy who's been on three cruises (at 10 months, 20 months, and 34 months), my experience cruising with a toddler has been great and being flexible with your schedule is key.  Our son didn't like the nursery when he was 10 months old so we didn't bother with it on the next two cruises.

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9 minutes ago, SUSIEK said:

Our son has been cruising with us since he was 2.  He is now 13.   When he was a toddler we just planned and expected a different cruise experience.  It was fine and I don't regret it at all.  

 

We were up early and usually back in the cabin early.  We always booked a balcony so we could enjoy that during nap time.  Or, I would stroll him out onto the quiet promenade deck,  grab a chair, and our son would fall asleep in his stroller while I relaxed and listened to the sea.  

 

Most ships have a water play area for little ones.  

 

The dining staff was always fantastic.  I loved the relaxation of not cooking or cleaning.  

 

We did bring an umbrella stroller and had no problems with it.  My  mother-in-law traveled with us many times and we would get connecting cabins.  That worked out great.   

 

If you choose to take your toddler.... just understand it won't be like previous cruises without the toddler.   For us, that was ok. 

 

Happy Sailing 🙂

 

Thanks for sharing your positive experience. You clearly demonstrated great care and responsibility with you children on cruises.  Excellent planning, wisdom, and advice. Nice.

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24 minutes ago, SUSIEK said:

 

If you choose to take your toddler.... just understand it won't be like previous cruises without the toddler.   For us, that was ok. 

 

Happy Sailing 🙂

 

 

This sums it up.  

 

We we did a lot of cruising before we had kids and continue to cruise a lot after.  

 

Obviously cruising with a baby is different from cruising with a toddler vs a teenager, etc.   As with anything it’s all about expectation.  The people that have the best experiences bringing a baby on board have realistic expectations as to what they can do and are flexible even when plans fall apart as they frequently do.  The parents I have talked to that say they will never go on a cruise again with a baby again  often have skewed expectations as to how the cruise will go with an infant.

 

As with anything there is a learning curve,  but you quickly find a new routine each step of the way as they grow.  Ours are 4 and 8 and I am learning something new every day as it’s a dynamic relationship.  There is no right or wrong answer,  it’s just what works for you and your family.

 

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I understand your reservations for sailing Adventure without a nursery.  We are sailing her in December and we didn't realize she didn't have a nursery until after we booked but luckily our youngest will be 3.5 by then...just need to get him potty trained!!!

 

Some of the other comments have been awful.  I have traveled with all three of my kids on all my cruises except one.  The first one was when my youngest was 17 months.  We only used the nursery for one afternoon just to get some solo adult time but that was it.  You just have to change your perspective for the cruise.  Our older kids love AO so they love going there but we always had our toddler with us.  We couldn't do night shows on the cruise b/c we were always up early and down early.  You know your kid and how they will handle the cruise.  

 

My toddler has been on three cruises, 17 months, 2, 2.5 and he will be on one next week right before he is 3 and it has been great! The MDR staff is wonderful and attentive...but we also bring out IPAD that has his favorite shows downloaded. We also always do the early dinner too.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions I would be happy to help.

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14 minutes ago, GalwayGirl03 said:

I understand your reservations for sailing Adventure without a nursery.  We are sailing her in December and we didn't realize she didn't have a nursery until after we booked but luckily our youngest will be 3.5 by then...just need to get him potty trained!!!

 

Some of the other comments have been awful.  I have traveled with all three of my kids on all my cruises except one.  The first one was when my youngest was 17 months.  We only used the nursery for one afternoon just to get some solo adult time but that was it.  You just have to change your perspective for the cruise.  Our older kids love AO so they love going there but we always had our toddler with us.  We couldn't do night shows on the cruise b/c we were always up early and down early.  You know your kid and how they will handle the cruise.  

 

My toddler has been on three cruises, 17 months, 2, 2.5 and he will be on one next week right before he is 3 and it has been great! The MDR staff is wonderful and attentive...but we also bring out IPAD that has his favorite shows downloaded. We also always do the early dinner too.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions I would be happy to help.

Thank you!  My little guy is only 6 months right now and therefore is happily entertained by a few toys on planes, in restaurants etc. if we adjust times and durations.  When did you find that your toddler became interested in shows/apps on the ipad?  Did you just give something with no sound or were there headphones that worked for young ages?  I would want to minimize the disruption to tables around us via sound as much as possible.

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We took my son on his first cruise when he was 17 months on holland America with no nursery. We were busy but he had lots of fun. We kept him busy with toys at supper and at the very end of supper we would give Mickey Mouse clubhouse without the sound to watch and that kept him happy. He wasn’t too interested in apps yet but there are a couple apps that he really liked. Peekaboo barn was a hit for him and flash card games. 

 

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I know whose ankles I’ll be gunning towards with my big honkin stroller /s

That said- we travelled with an umbrella stroller and used it off the ship only. Life happens at a different pace on a ship, let alone when you have a toddler with you. The wobbly strolls to explore and find new things are more than half the fun.

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So I don't have any experience cruising with a toddler but I do cruising with an early-to-bed/early to rise 8-yr-old. On our first family cruise, I knew we wouldn't be doing the late night shows together since she's sleep by 8:30 at home, but I was floored the night she fell asleep at 7pm in the Windjammer! And we had an inside cabin 😥. So I chose to let my husband roam the ship since it was his first cruise and I went to bed with her. I wasn't happy at all, but it wasn't her fault. Between the kids club and water slides all day, she was exhausted. I say all this to say if you are looking for some time to just be a couple, I would try to leave the baby home. If you're fine with doing things separate when the baby is sleep then you'll be fine. We had a great time but are just doing things differently next year. We have a balcony cabin so she can sleep early if she wants and one of us won't have to sit in a dark, inside cabin at 7:30 with nothing to do! I hope you have a great time either way.

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12 minutes ago, fla33023 said:

So I don't have any experience cruising with a toddler but I do cruising with an early-to-bed/early to rise 8-yr-old. On our first family cruise, I knew we wouldn't be doing the late night shows together since she's sleep by 8:30 at home, but I was floored the night she fell asleep at 7pm in the Windjammer! And we had an inside cabin 😥. So I chose to let my husband roam the ship since it was his first cruise and I went to bed with her. I wasn't happy at all, but it wasn't her fault. Between the kids club and water slides all day, she was exhausted. I say all this to say if you are looking for some time to just be a couple, I would try to leave the baby home. If you're fine with doing things separate when the baby is sleep then you'll be fine. We had a great time but are just doing things differently next year. We have a balcony cabin so she can sleep early if she wants and one of us won't have to sit in a dark, inside cabin at 7:30 with nothing to do! I hope you have a great time either way.

 

On nights where our son crashed early we would get the portable DVD player (iPads weren’t quite as prevalent then) sit in the hallway and order room service (when it was free) and eat on the floor outside our door as we had an inside cabin as well. Ironically some of our best memories was eating some pizza and cookies watching Lost or 24 on the floor outside our door as our son slept in the cabin.  We always had a the cheapest cabin so we were at the very end of the ship so there was no practically no foot traffic.  Those were the days, lol.

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2 hours ago, SUSIEK said:

Our son has been cruising with us since he was 2.  He is now 13.   When he was a toddler we just planned and expected a different cruise experience.  It was fine and I don't regret it at all.  

 

We were up early and usually back in the cabin early.  We always booked a balcony so we could enjoy that during nap time.  Or, I would stroll him out onto the quiet promenade deck,  grab a chair, and our son would fall asleep in his stroller while I relaxed and listened to the sea.  

 

Most ships have a water play area for little ones.  

 

The dining staff was always fantastic.  I loved the relaxation of not cooking or cleaning.  

 

We did bring an umbrella stroller and had no problems with it.  My  mother-in-law traveled with us many times and we would get connecting cabins.  That worked out great.   

 

If you choose to take your toddler.... just understand it won't be like previous cruises without the toddler.   For us, that was ok. 

 

Happy Sailing 🙂

 

This is great advice and pretty much echoes what I feel too.  We have always brought and umbrella stroller to navigate the ship...it is huge for little legs!!! We also have taken my MIL on two of the cruises too...having her was great!!!  

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1 hour ago, laiki said:

Thank you!  My little guy is only 6 months right now and therefore is happily entertained by a few toys on planes, in restaurants etc. if we adjust times and durations.  When did you find that your toddler became interested in shows/apps on the ipad?  Did you just give something with no sound or were there headphones that worked for young ages?  I would want to minimize the disruption to tables around us via sound as much as possible.

He became really into tv shows around 2.5 but he also has 2 older siblings which he emulates!  We don't use headphones b/c he won't keep them on..we either have it muted or on very low.  What type of room are you staying in?  We have always done Family ocean views, JS or Grand Suites..but the cruise next week is an interior....god help me with 5 of us in an interior but the price was too good to pass up and we only bough  the cruise 60 days out so none of our go to rooms were left!!  

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11 minutes ago, GalwayGirl03 said:

He became really into tv shows around 2.5 but he also has 2 older siblings which he emulates!  We don't use headphones b/c he won't keep them on..we either have it muted or on very low.  What type of room are you staying in?  We have always done Family ocean views, JS or Grand Suites..but the cruise next week is an interior....god help me with 5 of us in an interior but the price was too good to pass up and we only bough  the cruise 60 days out so none of our go to rooms were left!!  

We have a balcony booked and I think we will either do a balcony or a Junior Suite when we switch it.  I like ocean view just fine but didn't consider how he would do with sleeping at that age.  Right now he sleeps 11.5 hours with a white noise machine and we have been fine covering his pack and play to block light and keeping TV sound on low but not sure how that will change when he's older.  I did an interior once and I slept all the time, I couldn't seem to adjust!

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1 minute ago, laiki said:

We have a balcony booked and I think we will either do a balcony or a Junior Suite when we switch it.  I like ocean view just fine but didn't consider how he would do with sleeping at that age.  Right now he sleeps 11.5 hours with a white noise machine and we have been fine covering his pack and play to block light and keeping TV sound on low but not sure how that will change when he's older.  I did an interior once and I slept all the time, I couldn't seem to adjust!

 

We have booked everything from interiors to GS.  We love inside cabins as our kids sleep the best in them.   They can literally sleep forever,  which is not the case at home so it’s a nice change.  So we tend to avoid balconies or OV.

 

Our favorite is the ocean view 2 bedroom suite on the Vision class.  Very cheap for a suite but actually has a true second room with a door and bathroom for the price of a JS.  It is Room 8000 on Grandeur.  Best part is last Sept they reclassified these rooms as GS so they get GS priveleges now.  There are only 3 total in the entire fleet so they are very hard to get.  But why we love it is that there is a true second room without windows.  So it’s the best of both worlds.  500 sq ft of space but the kids still sleep in an inside cabin.  

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48 minutes ago, rimmit said:

 

On nights where our son crashed early we would get the portable DVD player (iPads weren’t quite as prevalent then) sit in the hallway and order room service (when it was free) and eat on the floor outside our door as we had an inside cabin as well. Ironically some of our best memories was eating some pizza and cookies watching Lost or 24 on the floor outside our door as our son slept in the cabin.  We always had a the cheapest cabin so we were at the very end of the ship so there was no practically no foot traffic.  Those were the days, lol.

That is so darn clever! Lol I wish we would have thought of something like that! 

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Posted (edited)

DS was 10 months old and not walking. Worked fine as he was happy to explore the room and we would turn him loose in unoccupied areas like the lounge where there was lots of stuff to pull himself up and hold on to. Anthem also has a kiddie splash pool. I can't speak for excursions because Coco Cay was cancelled and everyone else was too sick to get off at Nassau. At port Canaveral we went and had lunch with his Grandpa and went and played in a park. At dinner time, the staff were very attentive and kept him entertained. We tried the nursery one night, but he didn't make it through dinner because the noise was too loud for him in there.

 

Now at just over 2, we wouldn't take him. The splash thing is too small and he can't use the other pools since he is still in diapers. Doing a car trip this summer instead, but hope it makes good practice for driving down for the next cruise once he turns 3. We are hoping he'll like the kids club since he'll be able to use it by then, but always have a backup plan.

 

Keep in mind about sleeping arrangements as well. DS was happy with a playpen at 10 months, but recently we stayed in a hotel and he ended up in bed with us becuase playpen was too small. Again, by 3 we hope to have him in his own bed at home, so hopefully having his own bed or at least sleeping on the couch on a cruise is workable.

Edited by TBone2K

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25 minutes ago, rimmit said:

 

We have booked everything from interiors to GS.  We love inside cabins as our kids sleep the best in them.   They can literally sleep forever,  which is not the case at home so it’s a nice change.  So we tend to avoid balconies or OV.

 

Our favorite is the ocean view 2 bedroom suite on the Vision class.  Very cheap for a suite but actually has a true second room with a door and bathroom for the price of a JS.  It is Room 8000 on Grandeur.  Best part is last Sept they reclassified these rooms as GS so they get GS priveleges now.  There are only 3 total in the entire fleet so they are very hard to get.  But why we love it is that there is a true second room without windows.  So it’s the best of both worlds.  500 sq ft of space but the kids still sleep in an inside cabin.  

Too funny we have stayed in the 2 bedroom 8500 on enchantment loved loved loved it!! We also have 8000 reserved for thanksgiving 2020...great minds think alike:)

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2 minutes ago, GalwayGirl03 said:

Too funny we have stayed in the 2 bedroom 8500 on enchantment loved loved loved it!! We also have 8000 reserved for thanksgiving 2020...great minds think alike:)

 

Absolutely!  For price it is the best bang for buck room out there by far!  ESpecially now that it has GS privileges.   The only negative is that in rough waters it feels like a roller coaster.  Being high and on the bow it is a rough ride.  Totally different experience there than a lower deck aft or midship.

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This is my first post after lurking for a bit, but I actually have experience in this arena so I thought I'd jump in. And what interesting replies I've read on this thread!

 

At the end of the day, you really have to decide what kind of vacation are you going on, is it a family vacation, or is it a couples vacation. If it's a couple's thing, then you know what to do. If it's a family vacation, then you really have to think about your child and what they can and can't handle. Ignore the people saying you shouldn't take your child or a stroller. It's a family cruise line, period. I'm not saying to be disrespectful and ignore your child if they're screaming in MDR, but if someone wants to ensure they don't have children around, there are vacation tours that cater to that group of people.

 

My daughter is 2.5 now and we've taken her on my trips since she was very young. I wanted her to learn how to travel and behave in public. I just dragged her all over London last week and she was fine. At the same time though, she's 2, and as some might believe, they are not little adults. You have to know when to hold em and when to fold em. If she gets tired, hungry, has a meltdown, we act accordingly, we don't try to force her into adult schedules or situations. That's what you have to keep in mind when going on a family vacation.

 

We went on 2 cruises last year, Oasis and Enchantment. She would have been 20 months, and 2 yrs old for each of those. I was with her by myself for the 7 day Oasis, and her dad was with us on the 3 day Enchantment. Oasis was an Owners Suite, and Enchantment, Jr Suite. Did not use any child care on either of them. I packed little toys, coloring books, the tablet with pre-downloaded movies, and took lots of snacks that she likes. We went to MDR each evening and she glazed over as soon as we turned on Boss Baby, no sound necessary for her. It went smoothly, no tears. We scheduled early shows, and if she got antsy during, I would leave. I took a stroller, a smaller one, and I'm proud to say I didn't run anyone over. :-) For my trip last week out of the country I got a Pockit stroller which folds up super tiny, and I'm taking that on my next cruise for the instances where the elevators are too busy, we can just fold it and walk the stairs.

 

It's important to note that if a child is in diapers there's a ridiculously tiny area in which they can go in at the pool area. They cannot have access to the whole kids area or the main pool, and they're super strict about it. It was such a bummer that we only went once on each cruise because my daughter got upset that she couldn't do it all. The Oasis was great for her because there's a lot to do, the carousel, play areas, places to run around. Enchantment was kind of boring for all of us. Definitely more of a weekend party cruise, or couples cruise.

 

There are some downsides, like missing the evening entertainment, or the port shopping sessions during her nap time each day, but I still had a blast. It's more fun for me to have her and tone down my vacation than to not have her with me and worry about her the whole time, or miss her badly. We were about to head out on Oasis this Sunday, but that's now rescheduled to Harmony in June, which we're really excited about. This year we're definitely going to check out the child care for a few hours here and there to do a few adult things, so it's nice to have the option.

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Head on over to the family board here for more helpful information on cruising with toddlers.  I'm a single mom of twins and did a bunch of cruises with my girls from 13 months on before they were able to participate in kids clubs.  Cruising is a great way to travel with little ones because of the set schedule and routine (and someone else doing all your cooking, cleaning, etc.).  If there's no nursery, I was always able to have my girls asleep in their stroller to take a walk in the evening or sit in a lounge.  I always told myself that during their daytime naps I would read, but I'd end up taking a nap as well and it was blissful.  Definitely a different vacation than alone with a spouse, but still great fun.  There will be lots of other kids at the early seating - staff is used to it and keeps meals moving.  That said, time alone for mom and dad is also important, so if you're able to book on a ship with a nursery, great.

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