Friday, December 05, 2008

Disney Cruising with a Toddler and an Infant: A Review

I don't know the ins and outs of Google, but as I was preparing for this trip, I was trying to find something like this: someone who has been on a Disney cruise with small children tell me what to expect! I found a few things here and there, but nothing comprehensive. So! If you stumble upon this post because you are about to go cruising, leave me a comment! And this will also give the rest of you an idea about how our trip went day-to-day.

Having an infant and a toddler is probably not the ideal time to go on a cruise. For example, Katy was terrified of the shows. And they didn't even start until after David's bedtime, so that pretty much took Brian and I out of the running for shows. But if you are going to go, Disney is the one to do. I've been on one other cruise before, with Carnival, and it was great for me as a single person, but Disney is just a step above.

Generally I was impressed with Disney's attempt to accomodate my family. Of course, they are known for that kind of thing, but I still thought that everything would be aimed at older kids and I would have to seek out the extra things that I needed. But here are the ways that they provided:

**Graco pack-n-plays, which I requested ahead of time by calling, were waiting in our room. The 2 pack n' plays fit into the curtained off area of our state room and we still had enough room to sit on the couch. (They advertise that their staterooms are 25% larger than others'). The curtains were thick darkening shades, so we could sit in the main part of the room during naps or early bedtimes and have a light on to read, etc., while the kids slept. I brought our noise maker and we were good to go.

**The bathroom had a bathtub, which is also only found on Disney ships.

**Plentiful clean and sturdy highchairs could be found at every meal.

**At dinner each evening, they brought pureed vegetables for my 8 month old son. Fresh pureed vegetables. That is better than he gets at home, folks.

**Everywhere we went, the crew was tripping over themselves to help us - can we carry something for you? Can we go get you something from the buffet? Let me show you where your family is.

**While the organized activities for kids start at age 3, you are allowed to go in and play with your toddler in the play area, which is really nice, as long as you stay with them. This is not advertised, but I discovered it by asking questions, and we played there several times.

**For 0-2 year olds, they have a nursery that takes reservations and has an hourly fee. We used this twice on our trip, and it was win-win. Katy absolutely loved it in there (they even had her making Thanksgiving crafts) and David took a nap. All the while Brian and I got some time to sit on the deck and not chase or hold a child. Oh, and do a little Christmas shopping in the gift shop.

**They take a lot of extra steps to keep the boat as germ-free as possible. Every time you walk into an eating area, a person is standing there handing you a wet-wipe so that everyone goes to the buffet with clean hands. I saw several crew members cleaning elevator buttons and door knobs. We still got sick when we came back, but it put my mind at ease while we were there.

**There's an entire pool that is only 1.5 feet deep or less. There's a large slide for ages 4-7. Technically, according to public health guidelines, no children who are not potty trained are allowed in the pool. There's a small splash zone for non-potty-trained kids. We managed to avoid the pool all but one afternoon. I'm just going to leave it at that.

**We brought our own, but they did have strollers that you could borrow (for a $200 refundable deposit).

So there you go, more info than you needed about cruising with little ones!

Editted to add, per Charity's request: my kids were 8 months and 2.5 years when we went on this trip. Also, we didn't have any issues with motion sickness. The cruise director did comment that we had really good weather and smooth water for this trip, so sometimes it may be more rocky. But most of the time I could barely tell we were moving. It was more of a "Oh, that's a weird feeling," than a sickness. And I do get motion sickness sometimes, so I think as long as you don't run into bad weather, it's usually fine.


bluedaisy said...

I have never been on a cruise at all but your description of how much Disney is able to do to accommodate little ones makes me think that we may do that one of these days! Pureed veggies- awesome...tub- awesome! I am sure there were things that could have been better but overall, it sounds like they thought about the details. I gotta see some photos soon!

Charity said...

This is a great review for parents. It's all the kinds of things I'd really want to know about if we were taking a cruise with little ones. One thing I'd add for people that don't know you, though- I'd state the ages of Katy and David to this post when they took the trip.

Did any of you get motion sick?

Pam said...

My deep-rooted fear of water means I'll probably never book a cruise but it sounds like you had a great time.
I hope you are all feeling better now? Me and Jack have colds. UGH.

Emily said...


I editted the post to answer your questions. Thanks for taking the time to read it.