Ok, many of you may think what I am about to say is absolutely crazy but if you have a 6 month - 18 month old child, GET ON THE DISNEY CRUISE SHIP! This will absolutely be the easiest vacation you will ever take with a young child of any age!
My family and I just returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the beautiful Disney Magic. We have two beautiful girls, age 7 and 8 months old, and I can honestly say that taking this cruise with our girls was the easiest week my husband and I have spent during a vacation!
So let's talk about what made this trip so much easier than others.
- With a few exceptions, almost all of the food is included in the price of your cruise! Our 8 month old has allergies to dairy, gluten, and soy. The first night we were there, we talked with our head server and from that moment on he had freshly made puréed meals for every meal for our little one. He would tell us at dinner each night where to pick them up! He even had a purée brought out to Castaway Cay for her lunch! I didn't have to bring extra food with us or worry about making it or figure it out, he did all of that!
- Since Disney caters to families, they have many baby convenience options. Some of these include: strollers for rent at ports, wagons to use free of charge at Castaway Cay, Diaper Genies to use in your stateroom free of charge, pack and plays to use in your stateroom free of charge, bottle warmers to use for a refundable deposit, family restrooms that contain changing tables and so much more! This means that you don't have to bring all this extra stuff with you! How awesome is that? If you travel anywhere else you are on your own for these items.
- Disney has top notch nursery workers and security. When we entered the nursery, the crew member greeted us and our sweet girl with a smile and a song. Literally. She started singing to her! This made the transition for our little one so much easier and we were more at ease as well. The cast member then asks for your "secret word" to ensure you are who you say you are and then they take your child back to the play area. When you pick up your child its the same process in reverse. Unless your key to the world card and the secret word matches the child's account, you cannot pick up that child! Man, that made this paranoid momma feel better!
So, now you may be asking what tips do you have? Well, as you can imagine, I have a few!
- Switch to drop in style bottles. We switched our daughter to drop in style bottles before the trip and man was this so much more convenient!
- Bring or rent a small stroller. We used ours in the dining room each night since we had late dining which allowed her to eat and then snooze!
- Bring a blanket, those dining rooms get cold!
- If you baby wear, bring your gear. I used my carriers exclusively on excursions. They even make water slings for wearing your baby in the water!
- Bring a float from home for your baby to use at Castaway Cay and other beaches! We used one from Swim Ways that had a canopy and was spring folded for compact packing.
- Bring sand toys or plan to buy them. Our sweet girls played in the sand for hours when we were on the beach in Cozumel and Castaway Cay!
- Don't worry about a schedule. We let our girl eat and sleep when she wanted and it worked out great! After all, it was her vacation too!
- Enjoy it! We love Disney and we love cruising and it is evident both of our girls do too!