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scrimpQUEEN

Cruising Carnival with Toddler

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My husband and I have cruised many times together in the past and have really enjoyed it. We have not cruised in about 3 years now. We now have a child who will be 22 months old at the time of our cruise we have booked in February of next year on the Carnival Valor. I have a few questions if anyone that has experience with cruising with a toddler aged child on a Carnival ship could help me with! 

 

1. I've heard of people requesting a crib/pack and play for the stateroom. I have looked everywhere on our online account and check in documents and cannot find anywhere to request this! Do I need to call Carnival and ask for this? 

 

2. Our child will not be two so I know he will not be able to use the child care services that are offered throughout the day at Camp Carnival BUT I have read that they do offer certain times during the day they will watch children under 2 for a fee. Does anyone know what times this would be offered? Early morning, afternoon? Only on sea days? Just curious! 

 

3. Does Carnival allow you to bring snacks on board for your toddler? He can eat pretty much anything but I'm just curious if they will allow you to bring pre-packaged snacks that are easy for him to consume. 

 

Any other tips/advice are gladly welcomed! 

 

Thank you for your help! 

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They will watch younger kids during night owls which starts at 10pm. You can bring pre packaged snacks, we always bring goldfish, peanut butter crackers etc. You can also take them off the ship at ports.  I brought an umbrella stroller and would push him around in the evening and he would fall asleep while we watch karaoke or hang out.  Bring any children's meds you may need.  Also, just incase you haven't heard and are prepared...there are no swim diapers in any pools or the splash area. 

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2 hours ago, scrimpQUEEN said:

My husband and I have cruised many times together in the past and have really enjoyed it. We have not cruised in about 3 years now. We now have a child who will be 22 months old at the time of our cruise we have booked in February of next year on the Carnival Valor. I have a few questions if anyone that has experience with cruising with a toddler aged child on a Carnival ship could help me with! 

 

1. I've heard of people requesting a crib/pack and play for the stateroom. I have looked everywhere on our online account and check in documents and cannot find anywhere to request this! Do I need to call Carnival and ask for this? 

 

2. Our child will not be two so I know he will not be able to use the child care services that are offered throughout the day at Camp Carnival BUT I have read that they do offer certain times during the day they will watch children under 2 for a fee. Does anyone know what times this would be offered? Early morning, afternoon? Only on sea days? Just curious! 

 

3. Does Carnival allow you to bring snacks on board for your toddler? He can eat pretty much anything but I'm just curious if they will allow you to bring pre-packaged snacks that are easy for him to consume. 

 

Any other tips/advice are gladly welcomed! 

 

Thank you for your help! 

Call for the crib. That is what we did back in 2007, as we had a 10 month old grandchild (and her mom) share our cabin. They had it waiting in cabin when we arrived. We did bring snacks, and in our case, baby food. No problems. We also used the kids area when kids camp, was not in operation, like on port days. They offered babysitting during limited hours. I also think she was able to use it on some other days. When you call about the crib, inquire about that. If they don’t know, just go on day one to the area and inquire. I do not remember the cost.

Tips: we brought a blow up baby bathtub to place in the shower, as our granddaughter didn’t like showers. We also brought a 6pak of Pedialyte for “just in case”. Good thing we did. She had an upset tummy and was vomiting for the first day and a half. Not sure about regulations now days with carrying that on. I’d check on that as well. We also made sure we had an easy to fold umbrella style stroller with a protective sun awning. It was much easier to deal with than a full size stroller. We would eat dinner early in MDR, go back to cabin, bathe her and get her in jammies with her bottle, and put her in stroller to head out to shows, etc. She fell asleep with her blanket and bottle, while we didn’t miss any of the action. Good luck, and have fun. 

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1 hour ago, JaxsMama said:

They will watch younger kids during night owls which starts at 10pm. You can bring pre packaged snacks, we always bring goldfish, peanut butter crackers etc. You can also take them off the ship at ports.  I brought an umbrella stroller and would push him around in the evening and he would fall asleep while we watch karaoke or hang out.  Bring any children's meds you may need.  Also, just incase you haven't heard and are prepared...there are no swim diapers in any pools or the splash area. 

That is correct. I forgot to mention this. Children that are not fully potty trained are not allowed in any pools or water/splash area. Not even with swim diapers. It’s a public health issue.

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2 hours ago, scrimpQUEEN said:

 22 months old

 

Two. Your child will be two.

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14 minutes ago, Sif said:

 

Two. Your child will be two.

24 months is 2 years old..

 

That said,,

 

To the OP.  I agree with bringing any meds the child may need on board, i.e. Tylenol, Motrin etc.  Also an umbrella stroller for ship and ports. Dont know if any of your stops are tender stops but an Umbrella stroller is way easier to take on and off the tenders.  Also take as many diapers that you will need for entire trip. They do not carry diapers and on our cruise a family was looking high and low on the ship. Even asking strangers with kids to buy some.

 

Side note ...the best Planning is not going to prepare you for your cruise with a toddler, expect the unexpected.  But most of all look at the stories you will tell when the child is bigger looking back at the pictures.. 🙂

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There was a small package of diapers In the gift shop on our cruise last week. There were only two packages and they appeared to be the same size. No idea how much they cost but probably spendy. 

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1 hour ago, Sif said:

 

Two. Your child will be two.

In this scenario it is quite relevant as a 2 year old can go to camp carnival but her child can't. 

OP we decided to go with RC because most of their ships have a nursery for kids this age. 

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1 hour ago, Stacie. said:

There was a small package of diapers In the gift shop on our cruise last week. There were only two packages and they appeared to be the same size. No idea how much they cost but probably spendy. 

Definitely bring your own diapers. When we went, we had one large suitcase of just diapers, wipes, baby food and formula. Does anyone know if they are offered in Fun Shops? They were not when we took our granddaughter.

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36 minutes ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Does anyone know if they are offered in Fun Shops? They were not when we took our granddaughter.

That’s where I saw them, on a four way display where the feminine hygiene products were. I guess in reading my previous post it may have sounded like I saw them in a gift shop at one of the ports, but it was at the Fun Shop. 

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Our daughters have been cruising with us since they were toddlers.

 

I will add my voice to the umbrella stroller chorus.  Don't leave home without it.  Mine was a Jeep brand "rugged" umbrella stroller with more aggressive tread on thicker wheels, two saddle bags, and most importantly, a flip-down sun shade awning.  It was a little tougher than the typical umbrella stroller without being any bigger.  It handled various terrain in ports as well as onboard with ease.  It lasted for over a decade of heavy use with us and has now moved on to my SIL for her DD and is still going on cruises and going strong.:classic_biggrin: I highly recommend one of this type!

 

This is the model I had (not my picture):

image.png.a664ca96947823055ae5655bcee76c18.png

 

 

I also recommend for your cabin bathroom a potty seat (of a type with which your child is already familiar) and a folding step stool for him to get up onto the toilet and to get to the sink to wash his hands.

 

We used this type of stool:

 

image.png.41096ab1d1f74707985622c20edd2a52.png

I also went to the dollar store before the cruise and bought some toys and activities for my daughters that they didn't get to see or play with until we were on the cruise (or at least on the way to the cruise).  It all fit into a messenger bag that was their portable toy chest for the cruise.  The girls were excited and so entertained longer on the cruise with new toys, and if any pieces went missing, no great loss, unlike what it would be with a favourite or expensive toy from home.

 

 

I don't know if you are going to be spending time at any beaches on your cruise, but something else I always did was pick up some cheap sand toys from Wal-Mart or the dollar store (lots of different dollar store cooking implements such as bowls, collanders, spoons, etc. also work well for this) and take them along on the cruise.  I'd take them to the beaches at our port stops for my girls to play with and then, at our last beach stop, rather than clean the sand off and pack them off to take home, I donate them to a local child at the port.

 

These are a few of the things I can think of.  I hope some of it helps.

 

 

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We took our thee old so we were able to use the kids services ( she loved the camp) and pool without any problems. I know this is a little different than your situation. We found that at times we have to separate with one staying with the child while the other went around the ship but we also had some noise cancelling headphones so we took her to the shows and she usually went to asleep. We just carried her. Also, we were afraid she might fall out of the bunk bed but it work out fine ( a few times I had to crawl up there with her to get her to sleep in a strange place.)

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I add another vote the  umbrella stroller. it compact enough once folded up can fit under the bed or closet.

 

Also we had to transition son out of crib right before cruise as he learn to  climb out.  so once on the cruise he slept on the sofa turn bed.

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11 hours ago, Stacie. said:

That’s where I saw them, on a four way display where the feminine hygiene products were. I guess in reading my previous post it may have sounded like I saw them in a gift shop at one of the ports, but it was at the Fun Shop. 

I’m sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant the online Fun Shops. To purchase ahead to be placed in cabin. I did forget to mention that after that cruise in 2007, somebody told me about an online drugstore in Florida that delivered items ordered online directly to your cabin. I can’t remember the name, nor if it still is in affect, or even allowed. The OP may want to investigate that option. 

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14 hours ago, flippergirl said:

OP we decided to go with RC because most of their ships have a nursery for kids this age. 

Ditto.

 

We did a Carnival cruise with our toddler aged son, followed by a Royal Cruise. The difference was huge. It’s not only that Royal has the Royal Babies and Toddlers program for kids as young as 6 months of age, where he could be dropped at any time during the day, but they also allow non/potty trained children in diapers in designated pools and splash areas on specific ships. They also have a toy lending program and large open play areas that are accessible all day long. You can also pre-order diapers and baby food online, and these items will be waiting for you in your stateroom. 

Edited by Tapi

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1 hour ago, grandmarnnurse said:

I’m sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant the online Fun Shops. To purchase ahead to be placed in cabin. I did forget to mention that after that cruise in 2007, somebody told me about an online drugstore in Florida that delivered items ordered online directly to your cabin. I can’t remember the name, nor if it still is in affect, or even allowed. The OP may want to investigate that option. 

Oh, gotcha! I’ve never ordered anything to be delivered to my room so I completely forgot about that option. It would be really nice if Carnival had that option—especially for people who fly in. Diapers take up a lot of space in a suitcase. If they are staying in a hotel the night before the cruise and don’t have a rental car another option would be to have diapers and other necessities delivered via Instacart. We just did that for our wine and soda. We left out of Port Canaveral and used GoPort for transportation so we just had four bottles of wine and four 12 packs of soda delivered about an hour before our shuttle picked us up in the morning. It worked like a charm!

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Here are some things I'm glad we had along for our toddler.....

 

beach toys

toys for the cabin

books

blankie or stuffy

meds

snacks

refillable water bottle to bring to ports

battery tea lights for bathroom so you don't need to turn on bright light and fan at night

wine for your cabin to sip while little one sleeps

lanyards for your sign/sail card

backpack or good beach bag for ports

stroller

 

 

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Let me add to my previous comment, that when we wanted an area for our granddaughter to crawl around and play in, we went to the ship’s library, and shut the door. It was carpeted, and rarely were any other passengers hanging in there. If there were, we would ask if we would be disturbing them with a baby crawling around and playing with toys. 

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We just got off a cruise last week with an 18-month-old. I would definitely bring more toys next time, because there's really not much a toddler can do (sad about the no-pool rule but supposedly it's a US health dept. issue). They did have some daytime hours (for free) where you and your under-2 child could go to the children's area to play. I don't think hours were published anywhere; we just went up the first day, and there it was. It's a nice large, safe room for just running around and playing. You can bring on prepackaged food (we had goldfish, breakfast bars, fruit snacks, etc.). We called Carnival after booking to ask for a crib, and it was in the room when we got there. Taking an umbrella stroller was a good move, because we'd put her in her pajamas and wheel her around the ship to get her to sleep, and we would enjoy the music and ambiance as we strolled! We also took her to the beach, which she LOVED! It was definitely a different kind of cruise with toddlers than without, but we enjoyed having the family with us. And, a nice bonus -- the crew really enjoyed her, and told us stories of their toddlers left at home.

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We've gone cruising with twin toddlers and what we found work well for us:

 

1) Packing.  We got a large diaper box, opened it and removed some diapers and packed it back with food, snacks, and wipes.  Then just slapped a baggage label on it.  Very easy and then you don't have to drag an extra piece of luggage around.  Also will survive an airplane flight if that is how you get to the port.

 

2) Umbrella stroller - small, light weight, easy to get on and off the ship.  Don't even think of bringing a full stroller.  Small is important so you can go on "walks" around the ship and not have an issue navigating the more crowded sections.

 

3) Call for the crib.  Your steward will set it up for you every night with fresh linens.  We actually elected to keep ours out as it was easy to store stuff in or allow for an quick nap.

 

4) While many did flex dining, we found the fixed time dining worked well for us as the waiters had the high chair setup ready to go and some kid friendly food as soon as we got there.  They also got in the habit of getting our order in quickly.  This allowed the kids to eat quickly and not get bored waiting for slow service.  So many of the wait staff have young ones they've left behind at home your toddler will be treated like loyalty.

 

5) Take advantage of the family play time at Camp Ocean/Carnival whatever they are calling it these days.  While you can't leave the child unsupervised, they have tons of age appropriate toys and play spaces for a toddler.   Take turns so Mom and Dad can each get some individual private time while the toddler is happy distracted with the other parent!

 

6) If you can afford it - book a balcony.  It's a great escape if the toddler gets overwhelmed with noises, crowds, etc.  Some of our best memories are just hanging out on the balcony and letting the kids crawl around in peace. It was also a great place to keep on the staterooms trashcans to drop diapers in.

 

7) Excursions.  You really got to know your kids and what they will tolerate.  When searching for excursions you can indicate if you have a toddler - quite a few will let a toddler go free or at a reduced rate!  We had success with short bus tours and beach excursions.  We also did a few private beach clubs where we took a taxi - just make sure to stay in your comfort level.  Even did a sting ray swim and the twins loved it - be we made sure the boat had appropriate sized life vests before booking.  But again it comes down to what they can handle.  Nothing will be more miserable for you and your companions if stuck on a day long excursion and the kids is having none of it.

 

Best overall advice I can offer is just to roll with it and recognize that bring a toddler will make the experiences revolve around them.  That said, as a family we've loved and all of our kids have cruised before even hitting a year old.

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I have zero experience with this myself, but I'll chime in with info we got last night, on the paid babysitting for kids under two. This was a very funny but kind of frustrated young dad, on the Ecstasy. "The babysitters call us and make us come get her every time she cries. Every. Time. Yeah dude, I know - she cries at home too! She's fine, please let me finish my beer."

 

His daughter is about 15 months old (I don't have any kids, so that's an ish), utterly adorable, and seems pretty cheerful whenever we see her around the ship. 

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4 hours ago, UncleInci said:

 

 

5) Take advantage of the family play time at Camp Ocean/Carnival whatever they are calling it these days.  While you can't leave the child unsupervised, they have tons of age appropriate toys and play spaces for a toddler.   Take turns so Mom and Dad can each get some individual private time while the toddler is happy distracted with the other parent!

 

 

they no longer offer this option for camp for toddlers.    It used to be opened while camps were closed for meals.   Not the case.  If a child is not 2 by the date of sailing they can not go in there.

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Vista has a baby play area beside the kid's camp, full of Dr Seuss books. When my wife needed a break I took our little guys there. The baby played on the floor while I read books to our 3 year old. He wasn't too keen on kids camp most days. Not quite used to being away from us.

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