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Baby on Board: Taking Your Toddler on a Cruise

Kid's Pool on the Norwegian Gem cruise ship.

I hear the phrase “take your toddler on vacation” and it pretty much sounds like an oxymoron to me.  Doesn’t the word toddler mean “no vacation” in Latin or something? Anyone who has a toddler knows you can’t sit for five minutes with one on the loose, let alone take an actual vacation.

Wait! Stop! Maybe you can! Lately I am hearing more talk about cruises being the way to go for two parents who can’t ditch the kids. See, the ship is huge but, unlike basing yourself out of a hotel room and then having to walk or drive miles and miles to see the sights, you are staying in the middle of all the action.  And cruises are increasingly catering to children, even offering discounts for kids under two! And what hotel is going to offer group babysitting while you and the hubs go have a night on the town of whatever port? That alone is worth the cruise.

Still, traveling with a kid can be overwhelming, but not if you prepare wisely. Below are a few things to know before you go!

Most rooms do not have bathtubs – If your child is not accustomed to showering, make sure you bring an inflatable tub to bathe them in.

Inflatable toys – Speaking of which, inflatable toys are perfect to bring along on the trip. They fold down to nothing but keep kids busy for hours! Bring lots of small toys and keep a “toy bag” in your room so your child knows right where to go if they want to play. Bubbles are also a good item to pack. They’re fun and you can leave them behind. Also, if you’re like me you won’t travel anywhere without a portable DVD player to keep the kids entertained during long airport hours and other downtimes. Make sure you bring a power strip to give yourself extra plugs for your computer, cell phone, etc.

Toddlers who are not toilet trained can not use the swimming pools – This is where that inflatable tub comes in handy again. Put the inflatable tub on the deck and let your kid “swim” in the sunshine out on the balcony of your room while you enjoy a cold beverage and a scandalous book.

Adjoining rooms – If you can swing it, get an adjoining room. This makes bedtime and nap-time so much easier for toddler and mom and dad. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line offers an Aft-Facing Mini Suite with Balcony. “These Mini-Suites sleep up to four guests, making them ideal if you want to bring the kids. They have two lower beds that convert into a queen-size bed as well as a sitting area, luxury bath with shower and additional bedding to sleep two additional guests.” If you can’t swing an adjoining room try one with a balcony. You can enjoy the sunshine on the veranda while your kid naps peacefully in the room.

Room service is your best friend – Any parent of a toddler knows dining out with the kid can be exhausting. That’s when you can take advantage of the room service offered and generally it’s no charge. Order breakfast in and have coffee on your balcony. So much more relaxing.

A big thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Image: About.com

 

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