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TravlnStyle3

Alaska cruising with babies - ages 1 and 4

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Hi all. I’m a seasoned cruiser with at least 10 under my belt, but i’m In uncharted territory because this June we’ll be cruising with kids for the first time, in Alaska. I want to be well prepared in all aspects...I’m already anxious thinking about how we’ll handle naps, stroller vs carrier, etc. We’ll be on the Ruby Princess for 7 days stopping in Seattle, Victoria, Ketchikan  Skagway, Juneau,  and Glaciar Bay National Park. I cruised there around 10 years ago but was single and able to do anything and everything. I’m looking for general baby cruiser tips (what to bring, onboard tips, excursion tips, etc.) and also more detailed suggestions/information about what excursions are best for those ages. We babywear so i anticipate doing a lot of that. I’ve never had to use the kids club/babysitting services and would love to hear reviews of your experiences with that onboard service. We are traveling large - my parents and sisters plus families - 26 of us with kids of all ages - the youngest ones will be 1, 2.5, 4 and 6. ALL of your suggestions and insight are appreciated! 

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Well, the 1 year old won't have a kids club, the 4 year old will. Also keep in mind non-potty trained kids are not allowed in the pools. No swim diapers. Granted, it won't be that warm anyways.

 

Bring anything and everything you think you will need with you. Diapers, food, medicine. If in doubt, pack it. Yes, you will be mimicing a sherpa.

 

With regards to excursions, you will know your kids the best and what you think is doable. You might ask on the Alaska forum for more details. Glacier Bay is a scenic cruising day, so don't worry about that. Victoria is normally an evening stop (to satisfy the PVSA), so while it's nice, don't feel too guilty about not getting off if its easier for you.

 

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Could you let us know which line you are sailing so we can help with the kids club?  As noted above, there are no kids clubs for 1 year olds, but some ships have nurseries.  Alaska is great for kids, so hopefully it will be a wonderful trip!

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Definitely bring a stroller, for at least the 1 year old.  If they're not used to napping in it, get them used to it!  I would also book a balcony cabin, so I could get outside if the kids are napping or down early for the night....simply gives you options on where to "be" when the kids are done!

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You probably need a mini suite, as sleeping for the 3/4 guests will be upper bunks. There is no babysitting on Princess.  Mini suite will have a tub for bathing baby.  EM

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22 hours ago, kitkat343 said:

Could you let us know which line you are sailing so we can help with the kids club?  As noted above, there are no kids clubs for 1 year olds, but some ships have nurseries.  Alaska is great for kids, so hopefully it will be a wonderful trip!

@kitkat343 we'll be on Princess Cruiselines on the Ruby Princess. 

 

@Essiesmom everything is already booked, this is a gift for our family from our parents - we have a balcony room for 4. I'm having a hard time finding pictures of the 4 person configuration, but from past experience i'm assuming and hoping that there will be a couch that pulls out into a bed. I'm anticipating having one adult and one child in each bed. 

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Someone brought up a good point to me yesterday about car safety while traveling. We're flying from NY to Seattle and i know there will be transfers there as well as at the ports that will require car travel. Legally, we need both kids in car seats. In the past we've traveled with a lightweight carseat when we only had one child, but i can't imagine how we can travel with two plus strollers, etc. How have others handled this kind of "gear" situation with more than one child? Is it a better idea to rent carseats (or at least the additional carseat) and/or strollers in Seattle? Where would i rent from if i did that?

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33 minutes ago, 1025cruise said:

On the Ruby, I don't believe balcony cabins have sofas. 

 

@1025cruise do you have an idea of how they fit 4 people into a balcony room?

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7 minutes ago, TravlnStyle3 said:

 

@1025cruise do you have an idea of how they fit 4 people into a balcony room?

 

So, I've never been on Princess, but my family of 4 is cruising in a carnival interior cabin in 2 weeks. My baby is 11 months and daughter is 3.5. We requested a crib for the baby, and the plan for 3.5 year old is to sleep in the upper Pullman. She has slept in a regular twin bed since age 2 with no rail so I'm not worried. If she doesn't like it we will put my husband up there instead.

At 4 and 1 you guys could do a similar arrangement.

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On Princess there is no couch until you get a mini suite.  I am reading that the are removing the chair to provide more space, so just a chair or stool at the desk.  Third and fourth sleep in upper bunks that come down from the ceiling above the twins.  I believe you can get a pack  n play for the toddler.  EM

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There will be 2 pullmans that come down. For the 1 year old, you can get a pack and play. 

I've seen it suggested to pull the mattress from the pullman and put it on the floor, but you will be tight on space. 

 

For Princess, my preferred room type is a mini suite. 

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Your 4 year old will probably love the kids club. My youngest was barely 5 on our last cruise- they did lots of arts and crafts and had a blast. The kids menu was very kid friendly and the staff went above and beyond for the kids. 

 

What if you did the transfers through Princess? Then you would be on a bus and wouldn't have to worry about car seats. You could try the west coast departure board and see if anyone knows of a service that provides car seats for transportation. 

 

I've seen photos of different room configurations, including putting one of the pullman mattresses on the floor and a pack and play in the closet area. You could try posting in the Princess board, if you haven't already. You could also call Princess and ask how much more it would be to switch your cabin to a mini suite, to get the couch. 

 

In Skagway there is a Junior Ranger building- the 4 year old might still be too young to earn the badges, but that building is for kids. Plus, there is a nice looking playground (from photos) in town. (We are going next summer, so I've been looking at things to do).

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Thanks Essiesmom for reading better than me - I missed the fact that you are sailing on Princess. 

 

Princess  traditionally does an amazing job in Alaska.  It looks like they really have a lot of great activities for kids - including bringing puppies on board in Skagway.  Here is a page of the special activities on a Princess Alaskan cruise: https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/alaska-cruises/onboard-experience/  .     That page also mentions that they will:  "In partnership with the Glacier Bay National Park Rangers and the Discovery™ Channel, kids and teens can explore their adventurous side with activities such as our Jr. Ranger Program, panning for gold, and the Deadliest Catch Crab Sort Challenge."  There are some other great activities that are only offered on select sailings, so you can see  what will be offered on your specific sailing.

 

The Princess kids club is really good for small children.  My son loved it when he was 2.  There are no drop off programs on Princess for children under 3, but they will allow children under three to attend the kids club with parental/guardian supervision (and since you are traveling in a large group hopefully you can take turns having one adult supervise all of the kids under 3 in the kids club but I don't know how they would feel about only one adult with several toddlers.)   Our cruise had only 11 kids on it altogether, and there were never less than 3 counselors working in the kids clubs so they had a ton of time to help my 2 year old do all of the activities.  They worked with him one on one to  help him with the arts and craft activities.  But they did warn me that on the previous sailing (over new years) there were 100 kids on board, and they didn't have any free time to help the smaller kids so they were glad we picked that sailing.  If possible, try to sail during the school year but that could be quite difficult in Alaska, since most of the sailings are in the summer and they are quite popular with families.  

 

Other people looking at cruises for small children please note that Cunard also lets kids under 3 into their kids club with parental supervision, and Disney and most Royal ships and the NCL escape have a paid nursery for children under 3.   

 

On your first day, please go to the buffet and get fruit, yogurt and cereal for your room.  That was you will always have snacks on hand.  You can bring sealed cereal boxes (not fruit) off the ship so your kids will have snacks on excursions.  We always found it best to use private excursions for just our family.  In Alaska, the excursions were 10% off if you book directly through the vendor.  Please note that Temsco is the subcontractor for the helicopter to dogsled excursion, which was amazing for adults and older children.  You can take younger children on this excursion, but please note that it is extremely expensive and one reviewer on tripadvisor talked about how her ride was ruined by a small child who was terrified and screamed the whole time.  On the other hand, your children may find it to be a truly magical experience (we were there with an 8 year old from Jamaica who had never seen snow before).  

 

You might like the Mt. Roberts Tramway in Juneau, which is an easy ride up to a beautiful area to walk around.  

 

The Bering Sea crab tour is wonderful, but has a minimum age of 5.

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sorry - can't edit above post.  Cunard's kids club starts at 2, and they let children under the age of 2 attend with parental supervision.

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Hi, I've done this trip twice once with a 9 month old and then again with his brother when they were 1 and 3.

 

First off the boys were treated fabulously by the crew!  I was surprised how many would want to talk or interact with our kids.  You tend to forget they have lives outside the ship and are missing their own families.

The first time we had a mini suite and a crib.  plenty of room for the 3 of us.  We called Princess ahead of time and they arranged baby food for us.  We were asked what he liked to eat and how much before the trip and on embarkation met with the Maître de to confirm.  He asked if we wanted it in our cabin or to be brought out at meals.

 

Second time we did an inside.  The boys (1&3) loved the bunk beds.  the room wasn't too crowded as they were small.  Both boys ate off he children's menu this time.(the absolutely best chicken strips in the world!)  Again the crew was wonderful. We had fixed dinning and the wait staff took excellent care of us. having a little snack at the table ready for our boys, and other little things like that. 

 

Some of my thoughts:

-Get a good "umbrella" stroller the compact folding kind. Our first trip we had his full size one and it took up a lot of space in the mini suite.

-The provided baby food was great, cut down on packing.

-The buffet was good always found something for our picky eater.  At dinner fixed dinning  with the same waiters was great. 

-The kids club was not operating on our second cruise. Not enough children but they let us use the rooms. They had Legos, balls, trikes, a play room.

-As for packing "baby" stuff there are normal stores in Ketchikan and Juneau  for getting things if you run out.

-My wife and I are both from Alaska and I spent a lot of time in S.E. Alaska  and my mother lived in Ketchikan (reason for cruise #1) so we just walked around the ports with our boys.  There was enough to keep them and us interested.

-For naps we took turns in the cabin.

-Both are potty trained and we went to a pool everyday and played.  It's an Alaskan cruise so the pools are pretty deserted!

-With kids your daily cruise routine is changed it is still fun but just different.

-Traveling with family is nice because you have built in help. my wife's parents were with us and took the boys for a night or two so we could be out late.  

-I have to say I talked with more cruise staff on these cruises than on any of my previous ones.  I usually talk to them anyway but I found them to initiate conversation more when my boys were present.

 

I'm sure you'll have a great time. It is a different cruise experience when you have small children. 

 

Be sure to tell us how it went.

 

 

 

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Thank you all for your helpful answers! This is really helping us prepare. 

 

@grg i'm just curious, did you bring/use any baby carriers for the 9 month old and one year old? Did you do any excursions without strollers? Also, there are small refrigerators in the rooms right? My kids snack like crazy. 

 

I was wrong about the ship - we are on the star princess, and I confirmed that we have a balcony room with a queen size bed and a pullout couch, so our original plan to sleep one adult, one child per bed will work out thankfully. 

 

Also an interesting tidbit i wanted to share for others who see this thre ad - I and my 11 month old (current age) have been dairy and soy free since he was born, due to him having a sensitivity and breastfeeding. I am not sure if he has grown out of it yet and we plan to test with the "dairy ladder" soon, but I wanted to make sure we'll have options for him if he still can't have dairy when we are on the cruise. I spoke to Princess and they offer Lactose-free milk, rice milk and soy milk, but told me to also email the dietary restrictions representative to see if I would be able to bring almond milk and almond yogurts on board for him, or if they would be able to order it for us. They also had other dietary restriction/allergy options you could select. They have been very accommodating so far!

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2 hours ago, TravlnStyle3 said:

Thank you all for your helpful answers! This is really helping us prepare. 

 

@grg i'm just curious, did you bring/use any baby carriers for the 9 month old and one year old? Did you do any excursions without strollers? Also, there are small refrigerators in the rooms right? My kids snack like crazy. 

 

I was wrong about the ship - we are on the star princess, and I confirmed that we have a balcony room with a queen size bed and a pullout couch, so our original plan to sleep one adult, one child per bed will work out thankfully. 

 

Also an interesting tidbit i wanted to share for others who see this thre ad - I and my 11 month old (current age) have been dairy and soy free since he was born, due to him having a sensitivity and breastfeeding. I am not sure if he has grown out of it yet and we plan to test with the "dairy ladder" soon, but I wanted to make sure we'll have options for him if he still can't have dairy when we are on the cruise. I spoke to Princess and they offer Lactose-free milk, rice milk and soy milk, but told me to also email the dietary restrictions representative to see if I would be able to bring almond milk and almond yogurts on board for him, or if they would be able to order it for us. They also had other dietary restriction/allergy options you could select. They have been very accommodating so far!

 

 

So you are really saying that you have a mini-suite?  Could you give us the cabin number to confirm?  Because in a regular balcony on Star there are NO COUCHES, pull-out or otherwise until you get to mini-suite.  EM

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Yes we used a folding "umbrella" stroller.  We took our full size stroller on our first cruise and it took up a TON of space even in our mini suite.  The umbrella stroller was nice and compact.  We used it every time we got off the ship. if they were not walking one was in the stroller and the other on our shoulders.  It was nice to have off ship because one would always get tired or if we would need to hurry somewhere.  We didn't use any car seats or other carriers.

 

It sounds like you are in a mini suite.  You will have plenty of room.

 

Definitely email the dietary people and when you get on the ship go see the Maître D and talk to them.  They were very helpful getting food for our youngest.  I would think they would get any special milk for you.  

 

The fridge is small.  We would bring milk  cartons from the buffet and keep in it. Room service cookies were great!

 

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Just wanted to share that we will be going on a Princess cruise to Alaska this summer with our 6.5 month old, so I am finding this thread really helpful! Thank you! We are on the Royal with a deluxe (obstructed) balcony so it has a small couch, but he’ll be in a pack n play anyway. The couch will just be nice for my in-laws when they babysit! 😉

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, sciteach11 said:

Just wanted to share that we will be going on a Princess cruise to Alaska this summer with our 6.5 month old, so I am finding this thread really helpful! Thank you! We are on the Royal with a deluxe (obstructed) balcony so it has a small couch, but he’ll be in a pack n play anyway. The couch will just be nice for my in-laws when they babysit! 😉

 

We are on the Royal now with a deluxe balcony cabin. Here is a picture of the Pack N Play. 

 

We are in PV today with Norwegian Bliss and Carnival Splendor (in the background.)

 

This is our grandma cruise so they babysit a lot. I order breakfast and drop baby off with them to eat (she's 16 months). Doing Chef's Table tonight and they will babysit. They have a  minisuite so lots of room for the toddler to run. I requested a pack n play for their room too. Initially told not possible by steward. But he said ok on 3rd night but we never bothered. She napped on their couch.

 

They have a handicapped  mini suite so no bathtub. But baby did well in the shower. Stood up while I hosed her down. We took her to Cuba when she was 8 months old. We bathed her in the shower with a towel on the floor of the shower to cushion. One person held her while the other used the shower. It worked. 

20190417_095750.jpg

Edited by chinita415

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Posted (edited)

About sleeping, we were in a tiny Ocean View to Cuba. A pack N Play did fit but we sent it back. Hubby slept on Pullman bed and I with baby on  the big bed.

 

I brought the Summer 3D lite stroller and a carrier to Florida/Cuba. This trip I splurged on the GB Pockitt Plus stroller this trip. Brought the carrier too but used on the flight. She wants to walk and run when not in stroller.

Edited by chinita415

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Thank you! That picture is helpful. We have requested a pack n play from Princess, but we may have to bring ours for the hotels before and after (they’re saying they can’t guarantee a crib because it’s first come first serve!) so maybe I should just tell Princess we’ll use our own. Or maybe we’ll set it up in the grandparents room! I’m assuming they’ll babysit in our room though, since they have an interior.

 

i was wondering about strollers. I was thinking I’d just take his car seat with it’s stroller frame so we have an easy way to get the car seat around. But then we won’t have a normal stroller. I’ll have the carrier though and would probably prefer that most of time time anyway. He won’t even be crawling yet. 

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3 hours ago, sciteach11 said:

 

 

i was wondering about strollers. I was thinking I’d just take his car seat with it’s stroller frame so we have an easy way to get the car seat around. But then we won’t have a normal stroller. I’ll have the carrier though and would probably prefer that most of time time anyway. He won’t even be crawling yet. 

with a 6.5 months, just do what you are doing. It will be a lot less stuff. We did that to Hawaii when she was 6 weeks old. Wore her everywhere, including when we were eating and she was napping. Didn't use stroller/travel system much. A lot easier then when she didn't move. Now she wants to walk all the time. And she is pretty heavy for carrier if walking a lot.

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