How To Cruise With Toddlers

Whether you're heading out on your first cruise with your little one, or you love taking your children on adventures around the world, a cruise is the perfect option. With everything you need to keep the whole family entertained onboard, comfortable rooms so everyone can enjoy a great night's sleep, and the chance to visit memorable destinations, a cruise is a great way to start exploring as a family. Keep reading to find out some handy tips, what to pack and some of the best cruise lines for a cruise with toddlers.

cruise with toddler

Top Tips For A Cruise With Toddlers

Before you book your cruise, there are a few things to consider to make sure that your holiday is all smooth sailing.

1) Cruise Length

One thing to think about when cruising with toddlers is how long you're going to sail for, as different length voyages attract different crowds. With short trips often being popular with younger people, and longer voyages amongst retirees, mid length trips of around a week are often the best choice for families with toddlers. Combining time at sea with plenty of ports of call, you'll never find yourself in one place for too long.

2) The Right Room

Choosing the right room is key for making your holiday restful and relaxing. While a standard stateroom can work well, especially as you can reserve a cot, there are plenty of other options. From junior and mini suites to family suites, the extra bit of space might just make things even more comfortable.

3) Toddler Programmes

Toddler programmes can be a great way to keep the little ones entertained during your cruise, and might just give parents a chance to head out for some time to themselves to enjoy some of the more adult facilities on the ship. However, there are a few things to look out for, such as whether the clubs are suitable for under 3s, or whether your toddler needs to be potty trained to attend. You’ll find plenty of options when it comes to kids clubs and baby-sitting services in the evenings or while at port, but the latter may be at a cost.


What To Pack For A Cruise With Toddlers

Packing for a holiday can be stressful enough, without the added difficulty of having a toddler to think about as well. However, there's no need to worry as we've put together a handy list of essentials that will make any cruise even easier.

  • Toys- while there will be toys at the kid's clubs, make sure you pack plenty to keep your toddler entertained with during your downtime.
  • Pram- save space in your room by bringing a small, fold-away pram, perfect for shore excursions and strolling around the decks.
  • Nappies- pack plenty as you might find they are more expensive on the ship.
  • Sunscreen and hat- if you're travelling somewhere hot, make sure to pack sun protection for your little one, as just like nappies these may cost more onboard.

Best Cruise Lines For Toddlers

Now you know what you should think about before your cruise and what to pack, all that's left to do is choose the right cruise line for you. While many cruise lines offer facilities for children, here are our pick of the most toddler-friendly lines:

toddler cruise

Carnival Cruises

Known for offering family-friendly fun on big ships that take you on exciting cruises anywhere from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, Carnival Cruises are the perfect option for anyone cruising with toddlers.

Best Ships: Carnival Vista and Carnival Magic

Highlights: Toddler club for any children aged 2 and over, with no need to be potty trained, as well as babysitting for under 2s on port days.

Cunard Cruises

While Cunard may not be the first cruise line to come to mind when you think of cruising with a toddler, it's a great choice for parents who want to enjoy a more traditional style of cruising.

Best Ships: Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth

Highlights: Daytime activities for toddlers over the age of 2, as well as nighttime babysitting for under 2s free of charge between 6-11pm.

Disney Cruise Line

With the magic of Disney found around every corner of the ship from morning until evening, it's easy to see why this cruise line is such a hit for families cruising with toddlers.

Best Ships: Disney Magic and Disney Wish

Highlights: It's A Small World Nursery is on hand for babies and toddlers over the age of 6 months, although spaces are taken quickly so be sure to book in advance. For family fun, each ship has a Splash Zone just for the little ones to enjoy.

P&O Cruises

Popular for offering British-style cruising on ships packed with activities, P&O Cruises have several family-friendly cruise ships which are ideal for those cruising with toddlers.

Best Ships: Iona and Ventura

Highlights: Free of charge kid's clubs for those aged over 2, as well as evening group babysitting for little ones aged 2-4, allowing parents to finally enjoy a romantic meal out.

Royal Caribbean

Showcasing American-style cruising at its best, each and every Royal Caribbean ship is packed with fun for all ages, meaning that those cruising with toddlers won't be disappointed.

Best Ships: Wonder of the Seas, Icon of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas

Highlights: Royal Babies and Tots nursery available both in the daytime and evenings, as well as playgroups, such as baby gymnastics and music sessions, so that parents can have fun with their toddlers during their cruise.

Now you've read all about how to cruise with toddlers, all that's left to do is browse our fantastic family cruise deals and book the holiday of your dreams. If you'd like to find out more about family cruises, check our guide to family cruise destinations, or the best family cruise lines if you're sailing with older children.