Posted August 23rd, 2014, 08:14 PM
My wife and I have both cruised a few times before on Carnival and RC. This will be our first cruise with a child. We are going for my sister's wedding which will be on the ship. It's also our first vacation in a while so we are excited.
I wanted to hear from other parents who have cruised with toddlers about their experience cruising, especially those who may have cruised on Grandeur or any of the other ships in the Vision class (Enchantment, Vision, Rhapsody, Legend, Splendour).
I know that RC offers the RC Royal Tots program, but that seems to be just a 45 minute thing with the parents involved. I also know they offer in room babysitting. Is there anything else they offer for a 2 year old that would allow my wife and I to get away for a few hours once in a while?
Here are a few questions:
-Was it easy?
-What safety precautions did you take (I have a morbid fear of him falling off the ship which is why I bought a child's leash backpack, he's extremely curious)?
-Do they allow toddlers to swim if they have swim diapers?
-How was childcare?
-Did you use in room baby sitting?
-Did you bring your own pack'n'play or did you use one provided by the ship?
-Were highchairs readily available at dinner?
-I have heard that on RC they will take your child after 30 minutes at dinner for childcare, is this true? Is there an age limit (3 and up)?
Anything I might not be considering?
My parents and both of my sisters who are also parents as well as my grandparents will be on this cruise so we will have a lot of child care options available, which is a blessing.
We traveled on Grandeur with our son. He was one month shy of 4, and he was potty trained, so our experience may be slightly different.
First, the ship is very easy, as it is small and beautiful - plenty of places where you can go and have beautiful views of the seas - both indoor and outside, which are also very safe for little ones. The staff is fantastic.
Second, you are in luck - Grandeur does have a nursery, so you can drop your child off. It does cost though - $6 an hour. Also, Grandeur has three specialty restaurants, which are great and much more intimate for a romantic dining experience (we celebrated our 10 year anniversary at Izumi). When you board, there will be open house in afternoon and evening - go and register, and they will give you all the details about the other activities they offer.
Third, we did use in-room babysitting. As PP mentioned, you need to book 24 hours in advance, but there is no guaranty that you can get it, so the nursery may be a better option.
Fourth, the early pickup is for Adventure Ocean, so that will not really be an option - but, the walk from MDR to Nursery is maybe 5-10 minutes, so one of you could run your child over to nursery during meal. Or, if you are doing MTD, you can drop off at 7pm and then head over the MDR. We ended up eating at WJ because our son hated MDR - it is very overwhelming with all the people in there. Not sure about high chairs, but believe they have them there.
We did not need PNP, but the ship will provide one. I think your TA can request this, or you can in advance. If not, ask your room steward as soon as you get into your room. One thing, I have seen other parents recommend bringing your own blankets and pillow, so kids have something familiar.
We also brought some toys, although RC has a toy lending program, so not totally necessary. We downloaded some videos on iPad and brought some DVD's (we had a DVD player in our room, which was a suite). But, our son loved that at night.
As mentioned, the children have to be potty-trained, so if possible work on this. Grandeur has a great little splash area that was perfect for our son, so if you can get yours trained before the cruise, this will be great option. If not, look at the ports you will be visiting, and plan for beach days.
Two last things - bring everything you need - diapers, medications, etc., as the ship does not carry many of these things. Second, depending on your room, you will only have a shower, so prepare your child for that as some do not like showers...lol
Hope this helps. I have a review posted with my signature and the AO daily planners, although I do not think they cover the nursery. We loved the Grandeur - great ship, very relaxing vacation with a little one.
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2017 RCCL Navigator of the Seas (9 day Southern - Christmas Cruise)
2018 RCCL Radiance of the Seas (10 day Alaska Land/Cruise - Southbound)
2013 RCCL Grandeur of the Seas (6 day Bermuda) Review AO Daily Planners
2014 RCCL Grandeur of the Seas (8 day Bahamas - Thanksgiving Cruise) Review & AO Daily Planners
2015 RCCL Freedom of the Seas (7 day Western - Thanksgiving Cruise)
2016 RCCL Harmony of the Seas (7 day Western - Thanksgiving Cruise) Review, Compasses and AO & Teen Planners