Today we are in for a treat. We have a guest blogger. I asked my daughter to give me some thoughts about cruising with a toddler (while being pregnant!) Enjoy!
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Cruising with Toddlers while Pregnant!
When I got the invitation to go on a cruise I was very excited. My husband and I had never been on a cruise and the thought of traveling to some Caribbean island sounded fantastic. Then I panicked… what about the babies?! You see, at this point I was 4 months pregnant and I had an 18 month old. All I knew about a cruise ship was that everything was small. Narrow hall ways, tiny bathrooms, and very little room and storage in the bedroom. How was I going to make the work? Going to visit my in laws 5 hours away meant packing a minivan full of baby gear and we almost always had to go to a store and get something that we forgot or ran out of. How am I going to do this? The rooms are tiny!
Once I got my head around the idea of the small space, I started researching what was available online. They sold diapers and wipes. Great, now I don’t have to worry about running out. What about the size of the room. A square footage number means nothing to me so I went to YouTube and looked for videos of room tours. I was amazed at how many people have done this. It gave me the best understanding of the space I had to work with. Can you tell I am a little bit of a control freak?
Fast forward to the day of the cruise. We got really mixed up. My husband went to park the car while my mom and I took the toddler and went to check in. We had several bags and my husband’s documents that he needed to get through security. The staff told us to go ahead and go in. We waited for a long time because the parking garage was a mad house and we had to be on constant look out so we could give my husband his papers all while entertaining the toddler and keeping our luggage out of the way. It made for a stressful 30+ minutes.
We boarded the ship and headed to lunch with a lot of luggage in tow. We went the wrong way and had to drag it all across the boat again. Why do we have all of this stuff? Everyone said that you should take a bag on with you so you would have your swim suit, extra clothes, medications and anything you might need for the rest of the evening in case your room in not ready. Well, we took that advice and carried a lot of stuff. Don’t do that. Seriously. One bag that consisted of regular diaper bag stuff would have been just fine. Wear clothes that are comfortable and are approved for the dining you plan to eat in that night. I only used diapers, wipes and my daughter’s sippy cup.
Once we got into our room I was able to set everything up and the pack’n play fit perfectly between the two twin beds. The luggage fit under the beds nicely and there was plenty of room for storing clothes. The room steward made sure that we always had fresh ice for my toddler’s milk. The rest of our luggage was there around dinner time.
Dinner was great every night. We had two servers that wanted to know what the toddler liked and would learn what worked best for her. The highchair was always waiting for her. They would break their routine and bring out her food first and two cups of milk. One night we mentioned she loved English peas and they had a plate of peas made for her. They literally had to pick the peas out of another dish in order to do this. They were so nice. Keep in mind that most of the people working on the ship have left their loved ones behind in order to make a living. They love seeing children and playing with them since they miss their own children so much.
Eating breakfast and lunch was a little bit harder since we ate at the buffets. Finding highchairs can be a little difficult but the staff are always happy to help you locate one. Since you have to go and get the food, it was also less convenient. However, when we did breakfast in the dining room, the toddler freaked out because she wanted to eat as soon as we were seated. So both had pros and cons.
When we got off the ship it as easier than I thought it would be. We used our big Deuter Kid Comfort III carrier. It is like a big back pack to hold your kid. When we got on the buses we would take off the carrier but leave her strapped in. I guess in her mind it was like a car seat and she never complained and even went to sleep. On this trip we didn’t do much outside of walking or riding while on the islands because we didn’t want to purchase the excursions.
After one of the port of calls, my husband had a migraine which meant he needed the room to be dark and quiet. Since you can’t keep an 18 month old quiet in a dark room for more than a minute this meant we had to wander the ship. By this point the toddler had met almost every crew member and they would call her by name and give her chocolate candy. We rode in the glass elevator for over 30 minutes and walked and walked until I could not walk anymore… remember I was 4 months pregnant. Thankfully my husband felt better and we were able to be back in the room.
While on the ship there was a Cat in the Hat party. Since my daughter liked Cat in the Hat we paid to have the room decorate it for us and we went to the party and the show. My toddler had a blast. That evening that had different characters around the ship that you could take pictures with.
By the end of the trip the room really didn’t seem that small. Staying organized is really the biggest key to success. We would occasionally run out of milk and go to the buffet and find some. We did have to ask a staff member for some once because the buffet was closed. But like always they were happy to help.
The worst part about cruising with a toddler would have to be nap time. Ugh! Having to go back to the room and stay quiet so your little angel can sleep gets really old and boring fast. So bring something to do while you wait. I played on my phone or read on my kindle and would occasionally nap too.
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!