In January of 2005 we started planning a vow renewal for my parents-in-law. Shortly into the planning process we found out we were having a baby. I immediately chose to stay stateside and not go on the cruise. I felt very uneasy about cruising with a newborn. As the time approached I decided that I did not want to miss this event and started doing a large amount of research on cruise safety and cruising with newborns. I talked to a lot of people and everybody told me that it would be fine. But still, I went with some uncertainty. We had a wonderful time. My son slept better at night then he did at home, must have been the rocking of the boat. He enjoyed the fresh air while we were at sea. And we have some great memories.
Here are a few pointers from us:
1. You will be paying fare for your baby, enjoy it.
2. Get a room with a double bed and sofa bed. The cruise provides the Graco Pack and Play, but we felt the rooms are too small for this. Our son slept in bed with me surrounded by pillows. But if your baby moves too much, get the play pen for safety.
3. We use the Playtex Disposable nursers so the only items we had to wash were the bottle nipples. We purchased 3 gallons of baby water at a grocery store near SJU airport (Nursery Water or Gerber), 1 can of formula and diapers. I brought some dish soap from home and used the bottle water to wash the nipples.
4. The ship charges for laundry service, so bring enough clothes for the little one. He only wore 2 outfits a day
5. Bring a hat, sun screen and a sun shield for the stroller. We bought a spray bottle and used cold bottled water to cool off our guy.
6. Don’t worry about the stroller, we left ours in the hallway and it was fine.
7. We got lucky at dinner. We were in the Vivaldi dining hall and had a table in the far back next to a window. There was a corner next to the table so it was convenient for the placement of the stroller. When you make your reservation, see if you can request that table, it was a saving grace for us.
8. We bathed the little guy in the sink. Although it was very small, it worked fine, but you will need two people. The shower has a moveable spray so this is also an option.
9. If you are pumping breast milk, there are several electrical outlets in the bedroom and storage for the pump will not be a problem.
10. We took our son on all of our excursions and don’t regret it. We also took him to all the on boat programs with us, and he won the “sexy legs” contest. Unfortunately you can't use the baby sitters until the infant is 6 months of age, but that will only stop you from going to the casino and night clubs.
11. You will find that most of the crew have families and their own babies back home. They will ooohh and gaaahhh over your baby, let them. They are working very hard and will do whatever you need to make your trip enjoyable.
12. Finally, take a picture of your baby in his/her life jacket……it is an adorable memory.
Good luck, have fun and don’t worry, everything will be fine.