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What you should pack when taking a baby on a cruise

What you should pack when taking a baby on a cruise

Going on holiday with a baby or young child often comes with full-to-bursting suitcases with so many daily essentials needed along the way. When taking a baby on board a cruise ship, the situation is compounded as there’s no local shop to nip to for your baby supplies. Still, with space limited in the cabin, you don’t want to be overflowing with unnecessary stuff.

So, what should you pack?

Below, we share a list of the key things you’ll need for your baby while on your cruise holiday.

Baby items to bring onboard

More of the essentials than you may think

Nappies and swim nappies (if appropriate), baby wipes, baby food (although most cruises do provide some options), formula and changes of clothes are things you certainly don’t want to be running out of, so always pack extra just in case.

Sunscreen

Cruise ships on the sea can be immense sun traps, which is not so kind to babies’ skin. Be sure to pack plenty of baby-safe sunscreen of at least SPF50. Don’t forget to have a small bottle in your hand luggage too for when you get on board and may not have access to your suitcases straight away.

Sun hat and sun protection clothing

Sticking with the sunshine theme, keep your baby protected with a wide-brimmed sun hat, sunglasses and sun protection clothing, such as long-sleeved lightweight tops and bottoms or UV protection swimwear. 

First aid kit

Dealing with different climates, travelling at sea, and unfamiliar food can all add up to babies feeling unwell. Therefore, it’s always worth taking a baby first aid kit containing all the medication you’re familiar with. Some essential items may include liquid painkillers and ibuprofen, medicine spoons/syringes, antihistamines, antiseptic and wipes, insect repellent, plasters, bandages and sterile dressings.

A lightweight stroller and baby carrier

A lightweight, foldable stroller is invaluable when on holiday. It provides a place for your baby to sit, nap or play in comfort, whether you’re waiting in line at embarkation or hanging out by the pool. For exploring onshore, you may want to bring a baby carrier too. This offers your baby a place of comfort when in unfamiliar surroundings while allowing you to be hands-free as you move around.

Inflatable bathtub

Most cruise ship cabins only have showers and not baths, so it’s worth bringing an inflatable bathtub for your baby. Furthermore, babies in nappies are generally not allowed into the pools onboard, so your inflatable bathtub can then double as a cooling refreshment tub during the day. 

Baby bottles, nipples and sippy cups

Baby bottles and cups are particularly useful for your baby or infant when in the nursery. Don’t forget to bring a few spares too, just in case one or two get lost.

Sterilising equipment

Sterilising bottles can be tricky onboard. Pack some sterilising tablets to make the job easy and convenient. Travel sterilisers, microwave sterilising bags and pre-sterilised bottle liners can also come in handy while away from home.

Baby shampoo, wash and lotion

Cruise ships will provide toiletries, but it’s worth bringing your own for baby sensitive skin.

Layers

Going from the heat of the sun in the daytime to air-conditioned rooms or cool evenings can lead to babies feeling chilly. So, even if you’re cruising in the Caribbean, bring plenty of layers for babies to keep warm.

Toys and nighttime comforters

Bring a few toys with you to keep your baby amused during days at sea, and for a more restful night, don’t forget to bring any familiar or comforting items that help your baby fall asleep.

Check with your cruise line

Most cruise lines now welcome babies on board their ships from six months old, with the exception of adult-only cruise ships. Party-style or more luxury cruises are not the ideal surroundings for babies either. Additionally, for some itineraries, typically, when there are a lot of consecutive days at sea, babies must be at least 12 months. 

Some cruise ships are more baby-focused than others, so it’s always worth checking in advance to see what facilities are available so you don’t bring more than you have to.

Cruise lines usually provide cribs in the room, and most are pretty accommodating when offering food choices for your baby. MSC Cruises and P&O Cruises are good options for families with babies and young children, with child-friendly services, such as free babysitting or night nurseries. Royal Caribbean also offers a range of activities for young children, including infant pools designed specifically for babies. 

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