first cruise with a toddler... lots of questions
:confused3 I'm pretty new to this forum, but the information and resources and pictures and trip reports just make me so excited for our upcoming cruise! it will be the 2 of us along with our 22mth toddler on our first cruise ever... 4 days Bahamas on Disney Dream!
apologies in advance, i've been reading and reading and there are just sooo many things, so im sure the below have answers somewhere on the forum already...
clubhouse: from what i read here, are the clubhouse always open and available to us as long as the parents are with the child? or is it only certain time in the day?
nursury: we have registered but have not reserved time w the nursery, it usually takes him a while to get used to anyone and i'd feel terrible to leave him behind and have him cry while i go off to dinner... but the toys do look suitable and not sure maybe he'd be interested... if thats the case, is the nursery open through out the cruise for drop ins if i stay with him? or only the first day for open house?
crib: also wanted to ask about the pack n play or crib... do they have cribs for the rooms? from everything i read it looks like its just the green pack n play, which is fine, but we're trying to keep my baby sleeping on his own as much as possible so we dont have to RE-sleep train him again after the cruise...
sea sickness: any suggestions for sea sickness?! not sure if any of us will be sea sick, im more worried about my baby if he's sick and then he wont be able to communicate to us how he feels.. im wondering if there's anything ican prep him with, but i went to his ped and he just said dont worry.. and didnt give me anything...
allergies: he's also allergic to milk and dairy, i havent spoke or called DCL, should i call to ask for special arrangements? he also has to have bread, or rice or some sorta plain pasta or plain oatmeal with his every meal... im guessing somehow these will be available and i need not worry....? also is hot water available if he needs formula? or should i bring a kettle along and have it in my room just in case... usually if he does scream for formula, he'll scream for the 5, 10 minutes until its ready, so is it room service that brings hot water? or is there somewhere along with teas and things that hot water is available?
stroller: and should i be bringing my full size stroller? I'm not really a fan of those small umbrella strollers so i dont own one of those...
commute/transportation: i will be flying from toronto to orlando the morning of the curise and arriving at 9:21am.. hopefully enough time... from Orlando airport to Port Canaveral, i read that its best not to go with the Disney shuttle since you'd have to wait for everyone, so should i just go outside the aiport and wave a cab? i think i need a carseat for him... so do i have to call somewhere and preorder? anyone know about how much that is so i'll have enough cash on me to pay?
Nassau: which excursion if any would be baby friendly? we're still debating if we should go to an excursion or stay on the ship, read so many mixed things, but any suggestions welcome that are baby friendly!
thanks in advance to everyone!! :flower3:
Not sure what you mean by clubhouse.
Reserve some time in the nursery. Go together for the open house and see how he does. They will take drop ins as space allows depending on how full their reservations are. We didn't have any trouble changing times around, adding, canceling once we were onboard.
Our child slept on the couch bed and the stateroom host can put up a bar similar to ones on toddler beds.
We used Nauzene for our daughter when she was little because she gets car sick ALL THE TIME but she had no trouble cruising.
We did not take a stroller. She walked or we carried her if she was sleepy or if she was holding anyone up on the stairs and such.
Maybe it's not logical but for some reason I feel safer with my child unrestrained in a shuttle type vehicle than in a cab. It would be worth waiting for me. If I took a cab or car service when my child was that age I would not do it without a carseat. Problem is knowing whether or not the carseat, installation, blah blah blah is all adequate. Then what, it shows up not safe enough so you wait for something else? Hard one to decide. My kids are older now so I would worry a tiny bit less but at 22 months I'd have walked before I'd ride in a cab with no car seat.
That is a lot of questions. First thing: Relax. If there is one thing that Disney is good at it is making things easy for guests.
Our first was just after our youngest turned two. My BIL/SIL were along on that trip with their son who was about 18 m. You didn't say whether you booked through Disney or a TA. If Disney call them regarding the crib/pack'n'play and also the allergies. If not Disney than call your TA and get them to add the information. We always book through Disney now and like having the control over the reservation so we can deal with all the little things and make sure they are done. Hot water is always available at the drink station or through room service. I am not sure they would let a kettle on board.
Club/Nursery: Haven't used the nursery so can't help there as well. There will be open houses in the club. Times will be in the navigators you get daily. Honestly there is a ton to do on board so you can be as busy as you want.
Flight/Transportation: You will be fine assuming no issues with the flight. First couple of trips down to WDW/cruise we few Air Canada from TO. No issues except for the problems with the in flight entertainment system on the plane. You will always get different answers from different people regarding getting from MCO/WDW to the port. 5 weeks to our 4th DCL cruise and for every single one we have used the DCL buses. Why? Money isn't the issue. It is a vacation and it makes it EASY. EASY on vacation is good. There are limo services that could probably save you a few $. Depends upon what you want to do. Arriving at 9:21 all you have to do is walk downstairs to the transportation desk, check in and get on the bus. Honestly my advice is to go with easy
Nassau: Honestly I would stay on board but then I have been to Nassau especially since it is only a 4 day.
Sea-sickness: DW gets seasick every single cruise we take. Granted the second one was through a hurricane. We usually bring Gravol ginger tablets with us but DW is going for a patch for our next trip.
Stroller: We brought our Peg with us the first trip. The issue with full size strollers is that storage becomes an issue. After that first trip we have only used our McClaren for travelling.
All I can say is our first disney cruise was with our dd2 who was 13 months old at the time. It was the best trip of our life and our little one was a handfull.
My son was 2 1/2 when we took our first Disney cruise. I also had a alot of the concerns that you have before we went so hopefully I can give you some god advice.
#1 Clubhuse/Nursury- Due to our own personal reasons we did not utilize this so I am not able to give you any advice for this one.
#2 Crib- Our son slept in his own bed at home and he did fine just sleeping on the sofa in the room. If he is already comfortable sleeping on his own than you should not need the pack n play.
#3 Sea Sickness- I was very concerned about this one because his father and I have kinda weak tummies but we all did great. My son never showed any signs of sea sickness even when we were stuck in a storm for a couple of hours. We did bring an all natural oil that you put behind your ears for motion sickness but we never needed it.
#4 Allergies- I cannot praise Disney enough at how well they handle food allergies. Our son also has food allergies (milk, soy, wheat, eggs, corn, etc.) and Disney handled them great. There is a food allergy section that you should complete on your reservation and they will also have you fill out a form that you will need to send back to them prior to the cruise. The chef would come to the table every night of the cruise and talk to us about his allergies and then we would make a menu especially for him. He will also go over the other dining options on the cruise and let you know what would be safe there. Also, you can ask at the buffets/walk ups what would be safe for him to eat.
#5 Stroller - We brought an umbrella stroller with us and would definitely recommend it. It stored away perfectly in our closet when it wasn't in use. I would not recommend a full size stroller. There were many nights that we just wanted to walk the ship or stay out a little late and he would be fine sitting in the stroller and would even fall asleep in it. Tip: Disney has wagons at Castaway Cay that you can use and this was a great help. My son loved riding in it and it held all of our stuff for the day so we didn't have to carry it around.
#6 Nassau- We did not care for Nassau at all and do not plan on getting off at this stop in the future. I am sure not all people will agree, but we found it very dirty, boring and touristy. We did not book any excursions just got off to shop and look around but we were back on the ship in less than 2 hours. We were surprised to find the ship so empty when we got back on and my son had the pool all to himself. We would recommend just staying on the ship and having it pretty much all to yourself(atleast thats what it feels like).
Hope this helps in some way!
I have cruised when my kids were 20 and 21 months old.
club: Has open houses during the day. You will need to check your navigator (daily schedule) for open house times. You are only allowed to use the club during open house times, otherwise, it is secured programming and kids only (potty trained and generally 3+) are allowed in.
nursury: If you know that you absolutely need nursery time (specialty restaurants, spa time, shows, adult time, during the last half of dinner) make sure you book it now. You can always cancel it later if you don't need it. Also, you are only allowed in the nursery on the first day during open house, otherwise it is only the CMs and kids. There is a 1 way mirror so you can always check our you child(ren) without being seen/disruptive. My kids would scream bloody murder and then when we checked on them 5 minutes later, they were either quietly sitting on the lap of a cast member or playing happily. We always booked the last half of dinner so we could drop off our kids and finish our dinner in peace. And yes, sometimes, the nursery fills up and you can not drop off, so if you KNOW you need that time BOOK IT!
crib: Green pack in play or you can use the sofa bed with a rail. There are no other crib options.
sea sickness: If you child doesn't already have any issues with motion sickness, chances are he will be fine. Kids are much more resilient to us adults. I have a personal aversion to medicating my children with a substance that could potentially have adverse reactions (hyperactivity, lethargy) for something that they probably wouldn't have any issues with. Again, speak to you pediatrician, and if you want to bring something, then by all means. If you do plan on medication, please try it at home before hand so you know if there are any issues. My SIL took OTC motion sickness medicine on her first cruise and slept for 30 hours. She missed a whole day of the cruise. She has cruised many times since and has never had any sea sickness issues.
allergies: I can't speak about allergies, but Hot water is always available from room service, the beverage station or the bathroom sink. You can always order a carafe of hot water from room service, and the carafe should keep it warm overnight to the next morning. You are not allowed to bring a kettle on board. Also there are a limited amount of bottle warmers you can borrow for a refundable deposit.
stroller: The issue with strollers on the ship are the halls and stateroom doors are very narrow. Also storage will be an issue. Can you borrow a umbrella stroller for the trip? You can also borrow one from guest services for a refundable $200 deposit. (It is a peg Perago jogger). You can take you full size one, but you may have to store it in the bathtub. We found that we didn't use the stroller ON the ship, but in the airports and at ports. If your child will nap in the stroller that is something to think about as well.
commute/transportation: I like the DCL bus. No car seats needed (no buckles). He will be free (3+ are charged) and they buses are pretty frequent. I always fly in the day before and stay at an airport area hotel. That way if there is any inclement weather, mechanical issues, etc, then we have a cushion for changes. Also my day starts on a much more reasonable hour than having to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get to the airport. The advantage to staying at or near the airport is free shuttles and reasonable prices.
Nassau: I haven't been to Nassau with Disney. You don't have to do an excursion to get off the boat, you can walk around on your own or hire a cab. Driving on some of the islands are scary, some islands use British traffic laws (driving on the left) with American Cars (drivers on the right) they have sharp turns, and can be very trafficy. Some things to consider!
Pools: You haven't asked about the pools, so I just wanted to let you know that non-potty trained kids are NOT allowed in ANY pools, even with Swim diapers. There is a splash area for non-potty trained kids or you may want to find the beach at Nassau. Towels are on the pool deck, so no need to pack you own.
If there is any way you can get your child to drink cold or room temperature formula I would start that process now. We made the mistake of giving DD warm formula as a baby and it made going anywhere stupidly difficult. With DS we have never given him a warm bottle in his life and it is so much easier.
DD was 21 months on her first cruise and slept perfectly fine in the sofa bed with a rail. DS will be in a crib only because he is still so young.
With the exception of designated Open House times, you as an adult will not ever be allowed into the Nursery or the Clubs. Nursery unreserved drop-offs are allowed only if they have space, so I would pre-book what you think you might need. Nursery Open House will only be on the first day.
Also, as someone brought up earlier, you absolutely positively must not take your child into the pool unless FULLY potty-trained. One "accident" requires them to close the pool to ALL guests, drain it, clean it, and then refill it before it is used again. This is a US Coast Guard health policy and not negotiable for DCL. There is a splash area designed for little kids who are in swim diapers.
Depending on the cruise director, there might be some toddler programming early in the morning on the ships. I recall things like a Playhouse Disney dance party (now Disney Junior) and sometimes a crawling race, although that may only be on longer cruises.
Without a doubt, this is a fantastic vacation to take with a little one. You will have a great time!
Thanks for your responses, so from what I gather, dcl shuttles are prolly the way to go... Do I have to prebook? Or do I just go to the transportation desk?
For the wagons at CC, are there alot and where about should I be looking for these? I'm sure he'd love those wagons!
Never considered giving him room temperature formula.. I didn't know the powder would melt! But ur right that would solve quite the headache!
I'll book some hours in the nursery now, if I want to cancel how far in advance do I have to give them notice?
Nassau is still gonna be an open debate, not too excited after reading all the reviews and postings... Guess I'll just leave it w no excursions for now, if I change my mind and say I want to go your atlantis, can we add excursions on board?
Thanks for the heads up about the pool! I thought his swim diapers would do but we'll for sure stay clear now!
Phew.. Taking some deep breathes, can't wait for this to come! Going on feb 24! Thanks again everyone!
Cancelling the nursery, I believe, can be done up until 2 or 3 hours prior to reservation. I could be wrong. But I do know they are willing to work with you if you need to change/adjust your reservations.
They also do this at all of the quick service dining locations and buffets at all of the Florida theme parks.
Be careful with Nemo's reef. Swim diapers are okay but we found the floor to be quite slippery (lot of water - youngest daughter fell a couple of times). Upcoming cruise will be the first on DCL where she will be able to use the pool. Do plan on really making a day out of Castaway. I am not a beach person, but even I have to admit it is incredible.
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