We are experienced cruisers, having been on Carnival, NCL, Princess, Regent, Oceania, Azamara, Costa, etc. We are also Diamond status on Royal Caribbean. This was the kids second cruise, having been on a New England cruise with Carnival when they were 8 months old.
Baby Splash Pool
This pool is dedicated to children who are not yet toilet trained. The pool is only 1.5 inches deep but it is plenty of water for little ones to have fun in. We spent hours there splashing in the water.
As long as we were holding the toddlers or they were walking through the splash zone, the toddlers were allowed to use this area. They ship did not want children who are not yet toilet trained to sit in the water for fear of contamination. While my little ones preferred the baby pool, it was great to have another water area on board that they could use.
Toy Borrowing Program
In the nursery, there was a book that showed pictures of the toys. You simply signed out what you wanted to borrow. It was a nice treat to have some new toys to play with during the week and even nicer that we didn't have to worry about getting the toys to and from the ship. There is no cost to borrow the toys.
As we had family on this trip, we only used the nursery once. However, it was nice to have a place where the kids could go if the adults needed a break. In our case, we all went to the ice show and left the kids in the nursery. The nursery can accommodate 8 kids at a time (with two staff). The staff we meet were warm, outgoing and clearly loved kids. While you pay for use of the nursery, we thought the freedom it provides parents to be 100% worth it. As a side note, the staff told us most families use the nursery at night so that the parents can have dinner, grab a drink, etc. The nursery was open each day from 9:00 am to midnight.
Although not specifically a toddler issue, my kids enjoyed the character breakfasts on the mornings of the two at sea days and the character parade the last night. It was fun getting to take pictures with the characters.
Each night the kids went to dinner in the main dining room at 5:30 pm. The waiters did a great time making sure that they had all their favorites- mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, etc.- and that the high chairs were waiting for us.
RCCL offers the nursery and swim facilities on the Freedom and Oasis class ships. We really feel that RCCL has made it easy for parents with little ones to enjoy their vacation and has provided facilities that also ensure that little ones have a great time. Other than Disney, to my knowledge other lines simply do not have such facilities for toddlers. If I am wrong, I would love to know. My family is already planning our summer cruise and will be going with RCCL again based on the toddler facilities.