While most cruise lines don’t have an age limit, some just aren’t going to be that toddler-friendly.
If you are taking your toddler on a cruise, you want to make sure it’s with a line where toddlers are welcome and accommodated.
The last thing you want to worry about is having kids that are disturbing other cruisers and don’t have anywhere to go.
We have gone on a few cruises with our toddlers and have done considerable research into the best cruise lines for toddlers. Here is what we think!
We book all our cruises through Get Away Today! They offer some of the best customer services around and will certainly make it easier to book your upcoming cruise!
Carnival Cruise Line
This was the first cruise we went on. The main reason we chose it was that they allowed children that were 2 and over to go to the childcare programs for free. Most cruises charge for children under three.
We were also impressed with not just the kid’s programs but additional events and activities on the cruise that were great for young children.
Carnival is a budget cruise line, which does tend to attract more of the “party” crowd – so I wouldn’t say everything is entirely family-friendly. But we had a good time on our cruise and didn’t run into any issues.
Here are some of the highlights of a Carnival cruise for toddlers:
Camp Ocean Kids Program:
Carnival Cruise Line offers the Camp Ocean Kids Program, which provides a wide range of age-appropriate activities and entertainment for children, including toddlers. Trained staff members engage toddlers in supervised playtime, arts and crafts, games, and interactive programs designed to keep them entertained and engaged throughout the cruise.
Seuss at Sea Program:
Carnival has partnered with Dr. Seuss to create the Seuss at Sea program, which includes various activities and events for young children, including toddlers. This program features character parades, story time sessions, and themed activities inspired by Dr. Seuss books, providing a fun and immersive experience for toddlers onboard.
When we went, they had a Dr. Seuss breakfast for just $5 extra per person, and it was the highlight of our trip! I have no idea what the cost is now, but it truly is fantastic.
Water Parks and Splash Zones:
Many Carnival ships feature water parks and splash zones that are perfect for toddlers. These areas typically include water slides, fountains, and interactive play structures designed with young children in mind. Toddlers can splash around and have a great time while enjoying the refreshing water activities onboard.
Keep in mind that your child does need to be toilet trained in order to be able to participate in water activities.
Carnival’s Seaside Theater is an outdoor movie screen located by the pool area. It often shows family-friendly movies and cartoons throughout the day and evening. Toddlers can enjoy watching their favorite characters on the big screen while lounging by the pool or in a comfortable seating area with their parents.
You can usually find the movies that are playing in your cruise guide in the mobile app.
Family-Friendly Dining Options:
Carnival Cruise Line offers a variety of dining options suitable for families with toddlers. They typically provide kid-friendly menus, high chairs, and boosters to accommodate young children. The flexible dining options and casual atmosphere make it easier for families to enjoy meals together while catering to the needs of their little ones.
We used the flexible dining time option. It was the only option available when we booked, but it ended up being a great option with a napping toddler.
There are tons of delicious items, and the crew is always willing to accommodate any requests!
Disney Cruise Lines
Disney is inherently pretty kid-friendly, it’s a great option for the whole family. We went on a Disney Cruise earlier this year, and we took our barely 3-year-old. It was amazing! If you are looking for a truly family-friendly option that everyone will enjoy, look no further than the Disney Cruise Line.
Here are some of the benefits:
Disney-themed Entertainment and Activities
Disney Cruise Line is known for its immersive and magical experiences for guests of all ages, including toddlers. Onboard, toddlers can meet and interact with their favorite Disney characters, attend live shows and musicals featuring beloved Disney stories, and participate in themed parties and parades designed specifically for young children.
Our three-year-old absolutely loved seeing his favorite characters at every turn. Because Disney Cruise Line is so family-oriented, no one was annoyed or frustrated at toddlers being at all the events.
It’s a Small World Nursery
Disney Cruise Line offers the It’s a Small World Nursery, which provides care and entertainment for children aged 6 months to 3 years. The nursery is staffed by trained childcare professionals who ensure a safe and engaging environment for toddlers. Activities may include storytelling, arts and crafts, music, and playtime with age-appropriate toys.
Disney’s Oceaneer Club:
The Oceaneer Club is a dedicated play area onboard Disney Cruise Line ships designed for children, including toddlers. This interactive space offers a variety of themed play areas based on Disney characters and movies, allowing toddlers to engage in imaginative play, arts and crafts, and group activities. The club is supervised by trained counselors who ensure the safety and enjoyment of all children.
Our son really enjoyed being able to roam free in this area. There was always something fun going on, and the staff was very attentive. I was very pleased with the security of the area as well.
Fun Pools and Splash Areas
Disney Cruise Line features fun pools and splash areas suitable for toddlers. These areas often include shallow pools, fountains, and water play features designed with young children in mind. Toddlers can enjoy splashing and playing in the water while supervised by their parents.
While the pools did require children to be potty trained, they had a splash area that did not – all it required was a swim diaper.
Family-Friendly Dining Options:
Disney Cruise Line offers family-friendly dining options that cater to the needs of toddlers. They provide kid-friendly menus, high chairs, and boosters to ensure a comfortable dining experience for families. Additionally, Disney characters may make appearances during meals, creating a memorable and magical atmosphere for young children.
Disney Cruise Line is known for its exceptional attention to detail and commitment to providing a family-friendly experience. They offer a range of services and amenities specifically tailored to toddlers, ensuring that they have a memorable and enjoyable time onboard. Please note that specific offerings may vary by ship and itinerary, so it’s advisable to check the Disney Cruise Line website or contact their customer service for the most accurate and up-to-date information on toddler-friendly services and activities.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
I haven’t been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise (yet!), but from what I’ve heard, it’s great for families with children of all ages. This would be a great option if you have teenagers as well as a toddler.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offers a wide range of family-friendly amenities specifically designed to cater to the needs of toddlers and their parents. These amenities may include dedicated play areas, splash pools, age-appropriate activities, and interactive programs that engage and entertain young children.
Complimentary Adventure Ocean Youth Program:
Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean Youth Program is a complimentary onboard program that provides age-appropriate activities and entertainment for children of all ages, including toddlers. The program offers supervised playtime, arts and crafts, music and dancing, and interactive games, allowing parents to have some time for themselves while knowing that their toddlers are in safe hands.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offers nursery services for toddlers aged 6 months to 36 months. These nurseries provide a safe and supervised environment for toddlers, allowing parents to have some adult time or enjoy other activities on the ship. Trained staff members ensure that toddlers are engaged in age-appropriate activities and are well taken care of.
Family-Friendly Shore Excursions:
Royal Caribbean offers a variety of family-friendly shore excursions that can be enjoyed by toddlers and their parents. These excursions may include beach visits, wildlife encounters, cultural experiences, and more. The cruise line takes into consideration the needs of families with young children, providing options that are suitable for toddlers and ensuring a memorable vacation experience for the whole family.
Flexible Dining Options:
Royal Caribbean understands the challenges of dining with toddlers and offers flexible dining options to accommodate families. They provide early seating times and kid-friendly menus, as well as high chairs and boosters for little ones. The staff is often accommodating and understanding of the needs of families with toddlers, making mealtime enjoyable and stress-free.
Please note that specific offerings and amenities may vary depending on the ship and itinerary, so it’s always recommended to check the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information on toddler-friendly services and activities.
I often see Royal Caribbean having a “Kids Sail Free” promotion, which can make it even more affordable to cruise with them.
I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these cruise lines – it really just comes down to your budget, interests, and priorities. There is bound to be many other toddlers on any cruise ship from these places, so your child is sure to make some new friends! Let me know in the comments what YOU think!