My family and I recently sailed on the Disney Dream as part of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. As an invited participant, I paid a fee to attend and received promotional items from sponsors. The fee covered my stay at Walt Disney World Resort, theme park passes, most meals and a sailing on Disney Cruise Line. Although reporting as a Disney Partner, all opinions are my own.
I’ll admit I was a little nervous taking my grandson on the cruise. He’s a climber. He’s an EXTREMELY active and curious 13 month old. He can sometimes be a handful. I had horrible visions of him climbing wherever he wanted to go. I’m happy to say, all my worrying was for nothing!
One of his favorite things was the sail away party – not because of the music and dancing. Because of the streamers! He laughed one of those really hardy baby belly laughs at the streamers! He also loved just sitting in his stroller walking around the decks.
Now that I have cruised with a 13 month old, I have some suggestions that will help with your planning.
Don’t Over Pack
I definitely over packed! I packed just about everything I could imagine he might possibly need during the cruise. I brought most of it home untouched!
I packed gadgets and gizmos a-plenty – I packed whozits and whatzits galore (Ariel/The Little Mermaid). I tried to predict and be sure to have everything he would need but “the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” (Remy/Ratatouille)!
Don’t arrive too early. Keeping a little one entertained while sitting around the cruise terminal can be challenging. I would suggest choosing an arrival time as close to boarding time as possible. If you must arrive early be sure to have food, snacks, juice, etc., for the little one. We drove into the port wanting to arrive as early as possible. I carefully made my way to the third level of parking structure since that level gives access to the walk-way into the terminal. What we didn’t realize until we parked was that they won’t open the walk-way until 10:30 a.m. Since we parked at 9:30, we were forced to entertain Seamus for an hour in the parking garage!
Call Disney Cruise Line ahead of time and put in a request for a Diaper Genie for your cabin. If it isn’t there when you arrive, ask your Cabin Host to get one for you. Your nose will thank you for it!
Spend a few extra dollars and purchase a good quality, collapsible umbrella stroller. I saw parents struggling all throughout the ship with their regular strollers. One of my best investments was a good quality umbrella stroller. Space can sometimes be tight and maneuvering around the ship with a large stroller would have been a nightmare. Cabin space is tight also. I was able to collapse the umbrella stroller in the cabin and slide it right under the bed. I couldn’t imagine having to get around a regular size stroller in the cabin.
My grandson is not a Pack N Play kid. First of all, he can climb right out of it. He just won’t sleep in one. Also, space in the cabin again becomes an issue. Ask your Cabin Host for bed rails. Double rails will extend the full length of the bed. We had no issue at all with my grandson sleeping in the bed.
Take advantage of your surroundings. To say my grandson was a little over-stimulated at night would be an understatement. We were fortunate to have an outside veranda with our cabin. As an adult you know the sound of the ship gliding through the water is relaxing. My daughter-in-law sat each evening on the veranda with the baby and he would fall asleep in minutes. The fresh air, the relaxing sounds, a few minutes of quiet and peace produced a sleeping baby within minutes.
Our Cabin Host was excellent! If he needed to knock on the door, no matter what time, he was as quiet as possible trying very hard to be considerate just in case the baby was sleeping.
We are fortunate that Seamus is a good eater. If fact, he loves to eat! He doesn’t eat baby food at all. He prefers to eat what everyone else eats. He surprised our servers and table mates on the ship by eating his mother’s salmon steak for dinner! Service on Disney Cruise Line is outstanding and the restaurants will accommodate you and your child as much as possible. They always brought the baby’s food quickly and before the adult meals so the baby wasn’t waiting when he was hungry. They were able to deliver on all of our requests for adapting his food. If you don’t see something on the menu that your little one will (or can’t) eat, just ask.
Don’t Expect Too Much
Keep your expectations in check. We went into the cruise knowing my grandson would not hold up to most evening activities. To say he wasn’t feeling very “pirate-like” is an understatement!
After afternoons at the beach or splashing around at Nemo’s Reef on the ship, he was definitely ready to go to sleep a little earlier than usual.
If you find yourself cruising on Disney Cruise Line with an infant, be assured that everyone on the ship – from Cabin Host to Servers – will go out of their way to help and accommodate whatever you need – in that special and magical way that Disney does everything!