Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 4: Cozumel

Our 2nd port of call on our 5 Night Western Caribbean cruise was Cozumel.

We had already been there when we did another Royal Caribbean cruise out of Tampa in 2015, but we were really looking forward to going again. When we previously went, we spent the day in the port shopping

 

Autumn being Autumn… upside down sunnies and eating donuts.

We planned the night before and ordered room service (Free- continental breakfast) so that the kids could have something to eat while we took our time waking up and getting ready as we cruised into port.

The sky was so bright from the moon, which was full the night before.

Cozumel is a busy port so it was cool getting to see other ships around the Brilliance of the Seas as we slowed down as we approached the island.

It was pretty cool getting to see the sun rise (7.24am) in the port.

I enjoy getting up before the sun as it feels like there is a whole day ahead of you for making the most of it exploring and having fun. We were so ready for our busy day in port.

We had breakfast in the windjammer, then we walked around the ship to check out the other Royal Caribbean ship

We breezed through the port so that we could make the most of the day instead of shopping there. Plus, then we would have to bring it with us while we had our day out in Cozumel.

The cab line was efficient and moved along pretty quickly, considering how many people were there from the ships in port. It is not covered at all so it did

 

We went to Sting Ray Beach for a fun day hanging out with sting rays.

It was a short & affordable cab ride to their location, which is along the main road along the coast, that takes you into town.

The experience started with a lesson about sting rays so that we were prepared for the 2 part experience. We start with feeding and touching the sting rays and then we go snorkeling with them.

Autumn was all ready to go!!

OMG. It was quite the experience getting to go in the water with all the sting rays. They are quite pushy!!! They have no manners at all as they bump into us looking for food.

Since Autumn was still pretty nervous about the sting rays, I stayed back with her while Price and Hunter checked out the sting rays.

(The above 5 photos were taken by the staff at Sting Ray Beach. We bought a CD of them)

The next part of the sting ray experience was to go snorkeling.

Price was going to stay on the beach to relax with Hunter, with Autumn and I going. But she struggled getting in the water with the flippers and freaked a bit. I didn’t want to push the issue, nor leave Price with the (hangry) kids, so I decided to just relax with them as well.

I never get to really relax, so the chance to sit down, put my feet up and enjoy a margarita while Hunter snoozed on me… perfection.

 

While the snorkeling was a bust for us the food and drinks were OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Price and I ordered guac and chips ($7 USD) and margaritas ($9 USD) and loved every bite and sip. The guac was incredible. I could have eaten like 3 of those plates myself. The margaritas were great too- not to sweet, not to sour, just strong enough.

Sting Ray Beach isn’t really a beach, so it was sorta tough in that Autumn did want to go in the water, but not where it was deep- where there was access beyond the coral. It did have some sand where she could play, so that was great for her.

Autumn loved watching the hermit crap race and to check out the 3 legged iguana.

We hung out at Sting Ray Beach, which also has a chocolate and wine pairing experience and a paddle boarding adventure, for a while before we headed back to the port to go back to the ship.

The perfect photo opt is right in port right in front of this fun Cozumel sign!

Once we got back into port we decided to take our time and do some shopping.

Autumn picked out a fun hat and we picked up the most amazing bottled margarita.

Both kids were zonked out when we got back to the ship at the Puerta Maya pier.

We did manage to get back in time to the Windjammer before it closed so they could have a bit more food and then it was back to the room for us so we could shower, rest, relax, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

When we first got on the ship we made a reservation to Chop’s Grille so that we could have a big fancy family dinner together.

It certainly was memorable!

 

So much so that we will be skipping specialty dining restaurants with the kids and save them just for us so that we get to enjoy dinners, the kids eat what they want, and we don’t drive the other patrons crazy! I am a bigger supporter in teaching kids manners and to try new things, but at the same time we need some alone time, so in the future we will just do the Mistral Dining Room (MDR) with them, so we can have a great on-board date night.

The moment that the nursery and the Adventure Ocean kids camp program were open, we ere signing them in and sprinting back down to our dinners that were waiting for us on the table. At least our server was a gem and took great care of us (and didn’t clear the table when we left!).

We still enjoyed the food so, so much. OMG, so good!

After dinner we picked up the kids from the nursery and Adventure Kids.

I took hunter directly back to the room, but Price had to wait for Autumn for another 20 minutes since she was having so much fun on their Alien Space Walk that took them around looking for Fuzz Buzz.

Once back in the room, Autumn was able to check out the fun towel animal

It really was a wonderful day in Cozumel.

I’m already looking forward to going back one day!

 

 

 

 

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Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise – Day 3: Day at Sea

As much as I love days in port, I love days at sea. They are our chance to relax and enjoy the ship. We hang out in our room more than our days in port, sometimes we even get a nap in! We also walk around the ship a lot, check out the fun activities the cruise director and staff have prepared, and browse the shops. Our first day at sea was delightfully relaxing.

 

As usual the day started nice and early!

At least the day started with some room service at 6.30.

We filled out the room service card the night before so that we had some coffees, pastries, and fruit for us and the kids. (The continental breakfast is free, other breakfast items will have a service charge for delivery)

Hunter was already out for his first nap of the day but the time that Autumn and I were ready for breakfast, so Price hung back with Hunter to watch some news while he napped.

 

Autumn and I headed up for breakfast around 8am since our room service was basically a snack for Autumn and we still needed to eat.

Even though Autumn had already had room service and breakfast at the Windjammer, she was hungry again for a snack to enjoy before we dropped her off at Adventure Ocean to play with the other Aquanauts (3-5yrs). We hung around Latte-tudes coffee shop while she enjoyed another 2 croissants, and I enjoyed a specialty coffee. (Extra fee)

As soon as the Adventure Ocean program was open at 9am, Autumn was sprinting through the doors. She was ready for a morning of fun.

Peace Mom. BYE!!!!!!

I then met Price, who had been walking around with Hunter after he had taken him to the Windjammer for breakfast. They enjoyed their breakfast and now I was going to get in lots and lots of steps walking around Hunter for his mid morning nap. We looped the walking track over and over again.

Step Goal… Crushed!

Price and I just enjoyed getting to relax and walk around the ship, we walked all over from the running track to the duty free shops.

We picked up Autumn from Adventure Ocean for lunch time, just before it closed at noon. She had a great morning session as they crafted and made super hero capes. There even was superhero face painting. It was a real honor so have lunch with Wonder Woman!

For lunch, I went with the Indian Food since there are no local places to us, so I am always craving it. Also, I had to support the head chef who plans all the Indian dishes, that we met in line getting back on the ship in Key West.

After lunch, we went back to the room to get Autumn changed for some splash pad fun.

The Brilliance only has a kids splash pad, so Hunter was not able to go in. Kids need to be fully potty trained to use the pools and splash pads on this ship. (Some ships have splash pads that infants can use.)

Our afternoon was pretty relaxed with hanging out in the room after Autumn had fun playing at the splash pad. It was just what we needed after all the walking we had done in Key West the day prior. Plus, Autumn getting a change to relax is needed so that we all have a great time, even if that means we watch the same Sheriff Callie over, and over, and over again throughout the cruise.

We all got ready Formal Night!!

It’s a great chance to snap some family pictures together all dressed up.

Ah, the guys!!!

While these are just quick phone pictures, I really treasure these pictures together. Life is busy so we often just snap pictures of the kids, so it’s nice to take a moment to get dressed up and take pictures with the kids and as a family.

(I don’t and won’t buy a photo package, I just don’t like the posed prom style pictures that they do in front of a backdrop.)

Even if the kids aren’t looking AT the camera, or even in the same direction, they are still great pictures as we are

 

After pictures we headed back to the room to change Hunter because we wanted his outfit to survive more than him wearing it 30 minutes. We also changed so he wouldn’t ruin our outfits with messy dinner hands as well.

Then it was time for the kids to have dinner in the Windjammer.

Autumn was starting to be a pro at the soft serve machine.

She was really in her glory with all the ice cream we were letting her have since we only do “special treats’ on Fridays when at home.

Love this fool.

We dropped the kids off at the Nursery and Adventure Ocean when they opened so that we could go back to our room, get ready again, and have dinner in the Mistral Dining Room.

Dinner, with one of the bottles of wine, we brought was fantastic!

 

After dinner, we got the kids and headed back to the room to crash after another busy, fun, sun- filled day!

Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 2: Key West

Price and I had been to Key West in 2013 for a day as part of our “Babymoon” in the Florida Keys when I was pregnant with Autumn, so we were really looking forward to going back to Key West. We had so much fun the first time that I was really excited that this was a port of call for us on this cruise.

The day began as it typically does with the kids getting up and politely requesting demanding breakfast. ha! Timing didn’t work well with getting ready at the same with with both kids, so we did our typical divide and conquer strategy and Price took Autumn to breakfast first, then I followed with Hunter.

Once we were all together and organized we really began our day.

The Adventure Ocean Kids Program was open starting at 9am, so we heading right up then so Autumn could have fun in Aquanauts (3-5yrs) before we went to port.

While Autumn was at Aquanauts, Hunter napped and we got ready.

 

As that time in Key West was limited, at least compared to some other days in a port (11.30am -5.30pm), the line to get off the ship and on to the free transportation to Mallory Square, was fairly long, but it was well organized and moved along fairly quickly.

Our first stop in the port was Cuban Coffee Queen’s waterfront location, that Price and I had been to before, and had been dreaming of ever since we had been there years prior.

The coffee is strong and the sandwiches are fantastic. We couldn’t pass up getting them while we were in Key West again. It brought back so many good memories too.

While we waited for our food, Autumn and I wandered around the shops around there.

We decided to take our sandwiches to go so that we could walk and eat, allowing us to get back to sight seeing as soon as possible.

We wove our way over to Duval Street , checking out the amazing architecture as we went. I love getting to see the details of a house, fence, gate, garden that wouldn’t be noticed if we took at trolley through the town. Granted, we are missing out on the history of some of these places that we would hear about during a guided tour. But we think it’s an okay trade off to get some miles under our feet. Helps work off the sandwiches!

 

Can’t resist a good pineapple spotting.

Our main destination for the day was the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

Price and I had been there previously and we knew that Autumn would enjoy it. Plus, we would enjoy getting to go again as well.

 

Walking through the hot, humid conservatory makes you feel like you have been transported to a tropical jungle. It really felt like that on that day since Key West was rather cold that day too.

The butterflies fly all around you as you walk through the conservatory. They sometimes even land on you!

Autumn was doing her best impression of flamingos Rhett and Scarlett.

Price and I loved the Butterfly Conservatory again. It’s so fun getting to see all the different butterflies flying around, sitting on plants, and eating from fruit and flowers.

I think that Autumn appreciated the butterfly conservatory but her main interest was the gift shop. She picked out a big kit of butterfly and insect books, coloring books, stickers, and tattoos. It, unfortunately, also came with a big fake spider that has scared me on the cruise and at home more times than I’d like to admit.

You can’t visit Key West and not get a picture at Southern Most Point, so we headed over there after we left the Butterfly Conservatory.

It was fun to think about how the first time we were there, Price and I were starting our family, and now we are visiting again and our family is complete.

Florida. Ah, you have my heart now.

 

Then we headed back up Duval, working our way back up to Mallory Square.

The are times when the crowds can make the sidewalks crowded  and the pace slows way down (I do walk quickly- so this is torture!)  or just plain difficult to pass but it’s still really enjoyable to check out the shops and the beautiful architecture along they way

Stopping at Rum Bar was another must do for us.

We went last time,but I was unable to drink as I was pregnant at the time. But nothing was holding me back this time!!!!

We sat outside on the beautiful wrap around porch, I ordered a big, glorious mojito, drank half and then Autumn knocked it over. #kids

Since I basically forgot to pack Hunter pajamas for the cruise, we ran into the Gap on Duval Street. And then we made another quick stop into Walgreen’s before we headed to Key West Key Lime Pie Co. on Green Street. Getting a slice of Key Lime Pie on a stick was a must do for us.

The Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a Stick was perfect!

Only then, were we able to happily head back to the trolley to take us to the ship.

The lines to get back on the ship were a bit crazy, but we happened to hop over into a line that was near empty. We think that most people thought it was a staff line since it was so empty, but our risk of getting redirected to back where we were paid off.

Bye Key West!!!!!

 

The kids were hungry when we got back to the ship, but the Windjammer was not yet open (opened at 6pm), so I headed over to Park Cafe to grab a soup and some fruit to carry them over until it opened.

By 7pm, the kids were fed, cleaned up, and ready to go to Adventure Ocean.

Price and I then got ready for our own dinner in Minstrel Dining Room at 7.45. It was great to have some time to ourselves without having the kids interrupt our meal. It felt just like a Date Night!!

Our sweet room steward made a sting ray beach towel for us. Autumn got a real kick out of it.

We all got ready for bed and crashed. It was a long, fun, extra delicious day. Thank goodness we walked all those miles!

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Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 1: Embark

Woohoo!!! Cruise Day!!!!

The day is finally here!!! We’ve been looking forward to going on our Royal Caribbean cruise since we booked it in October. We were counting down the days!

We were so ready for the day to come.

Except we forgot to buy our wine (2 750ml bottles per cabin) that we can bring on the ship, so I had my dad stop on the way over to get us wine. (And then I also made them go to the post office for me while I was gone since I am on top of things- not!)

We dropped the dogs off for boarding at Tampa Bay K9 Solutions on our way to the port. It was tough leaving them for the week, but we knew they were in good hands.

The check in process was fairly quick and painless with fast moving lines and friendly port agents. Hunter even fell asleep on my in the carrier. It made for a funny ID photo of half his face and most of my boobs. At least it gave everyone a laugh every time we had to scan his ID.

Made it through check in and before we knew it, we were on our way to board the ship!

 

As rooms are not ready until 1pm, we went directly to the Windjammer for lunch with our stuff.

It was difficult to find an available table but 2 really nice women let us crash their table and then we were ready to dig in.

After lunch we went to our stateroom (#8500) to get settled.

With it being flu season, and there being recent Niro-Virus outbreaks on cruises, we brought cleaning supplies on the cruise and gave everything a good wipe down. Impressively, every wipe was still white after using it. I wish my house was that clean.

Besides that, we unpacked our bags and put all our stuff away.

Don’t we all attend our Muster Station Drills in the theater in our bathing suits and sunglasses?

You certainly can’t tell a determined 4 year old who is in V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N that she can’t go in the pool, even if it is cold.

Tampa was pretty chilly (upper 60’s) that day, so Autumn got a big cheer from the people around the pool when she jumped.

Cheers!!!

Price’s favorite cruise drink is a Miami Vice (half pina coloda, half strawberry daiquiri) so that was his first drink on the cruise, while I enjoyed a Pina Colada. The best way of kicking off vacation!

Autumn didn’t last long in the pool, but that didn’t seem to bother her as she was then able to enjoy a Virgin Pina Colada.

 

And then we were on our way!

Our stateroom was located right at the bow so we had the most amazing view of our journey from port to port.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that you could reserve your time for dinner online so I never did that for our “My Time Dining” dinners, which apparently a lot of people did not. We got to the Mistral Dining Room (MDR) right when it opened, but it was packed, and there was no availability until 7.45. So we snagged that time for the rest of the cruise and made our way to the Windjammer for our dinner.

While it was a bummer to not get dinner in the MDR, it was still great to not have to do dishes and enjoy a good meal with my family.

The exciting first day of our cruise really wore Autumn out and before we knew it bedtime was upon on us!

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How to Successfully Cruise with a Infant or Toddler- Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks Cruising with Infant Or Toddler

When Autumn was 14 months old we took a family cruise in the Caribbean. Our Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas cruise out of Tampa in January 2015 was a blast for all of us. It was a wonderful 7-day cruise that was packed fun of fun in the sun, shopping, eating plenty of food, lots of wandering around the ship, and some nice leisurely afternoons filled with naps (for all of us!).

We did A LOT of research before selecting our cruise line and cruise we would be taking. Ultimately, we had learned that Royal Caribbean was in the process of outfitting their ships with nurseries. It felt like a no-brainer to have the nursery as an option for us to use so we then selected our ship, dates, and itinerary.

Check out our breakdown of the big things to consider when cruising with a baby or a toddler:

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-Selecting your cruise-

It’s important to pick a cruise line, ship, length of cruise, and itinerary that works best for you. They are all import factors in you selecting the cruise you will take. There are so many cruise lines and itineraries that you can easily become overwhelmed. Stick with something that you think you will enjoy and be comfortable with.

Something that we considered was the age of our child and the services the ships provide for her. As she was too young to understand any of the Disney characters we decided to skip the Disney cruise. We felt the Royal Caribbean cruise would offer great things for us and for her. And we were right!

Something that we didn’t consider was if the ship would be tendered or docked at each port. After completing our cruise that had 3 tendered ports and 1 docked one, I am certain to say that tendered ports stink! You can manage but they require so much more coordination than if the ship is docked. You already have so much to juggle with you infant, your stuff for the day, and the baby’s stuff for the day, that having to deal with the on and off and waiting for the shuttle boat stinks.

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-Packing-

It’s quite amazing how much clothing you need while on a cruise! From the daytime stuff like bathing suits, shorts, tops, and sneakers, to the evening stuff like pants, blouses, dresses, and heels. And don’t forget the formal night(s)!

And then add all the stuff your baby needs… clothes, diapers, wipes, medicines, formula, pumping equipment, some toys, etc, etc!!!

Be mindful of all of this and carefully pack up all of this stuff before your trip. I don’t think you can truly properly pack for a cruise at the last minute, but, hey, that’s just me! So take your time and properly plan it all out before you pack it all up at home.

Once you get on board I highly suggest that you unpack your suitcase(s) so that you can easily find things and get around your room. We put one empty suitcase under out bed and one in the closet. It worked well for us so just find something that works well for you.

And then pack as much stuff as you can the night before you get off the cruise so that your suitcase(s) can be collected outside your room to be brought into the port. It makes getting off the boat so much easier.

-Laundry-

We used the laundry service a few times while we were on our week long cruise on the Royal Caribbean.

The first 2 times we used laundry we were charged by piece, similar to when you bring items to the dry cleaner. After that our room steward gave us a bag that had a flat rate to use as an option. See what laundry service and rates your cruise line has, ask ahead of time or ask your room steward.

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 -Swimming on the Ship-

Unfortunately, your little one can’t use any of the pools while on board as they don’t allow babies and toddlers to use diapers in the pools. And you’re little one has to be potty trained, so don’t just think you can dip your baby in there without a diaper.

This is a bummer, but it’s for sanitary reasons as cruise lines (with the exception of the Disney Cruise Ships) don’t have the proper filtration systems in place to deal with any poo accidents.

On some forums I read that people pack inflatable pools that they blow up with a plastic hand pump, or with a strong set of lungs!, that they use on their balcony. If you think that would work well for you then you might want to get a pool like this Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool (34 in x 10 in) and a pump like this Hand Air Pump.

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-Getting Around-

There are 2 main ways to bring your baby or toddler around on and off the ship- a stroller or a baby carrier.

We brought both an Ergo and an umbrella stroller that a coworker generously gave us. We liked having both options as we like using a carrier when in the airports and the stroller was great when we were in each port.

The carrier is also great when you have to go to your muster station before the cruise starts. Getting around the ship with it is great as well, as there generally is a wait for the elevators. My using a carrier you can skip the line and just take the stairs.

We found that the stroller worked well for us when we were in port as it allowed for us to get around quickly with Autumn by having her safe and secure. Sure, we could have had her in the carrier but it was nice not having to load ourselves up as we had other bags of things like snacks, water, shoes, sunblock, a camera, and towels to lug around as well. It was a pain to push through the sand at the beaches but it did help us keep out stuff together and out of the sand when we loaded it up when it wasn’t in use.

If you would like to use a stroller but don’t want to bring one yourself then just inquire if your cruise line has strollers for use, as Disney and Carnival do, for a deposit or daily fee.

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-In Port/On Shore Excursions-

We didn’t participate in an of the excursions that were arranged through the ship. They sounded wonderful but the majority of them were too advanced for her. We did speak to another family that took their 2 year old on an excursion to see and swim with dolphins. They said she did well and enjoyed it, which was great for them, but the year difference between Autumn and their daughter would have made a big difference. We just thought she would have been too scare, just do what works for you.

Grand Cayman and Costa Maya were beach days for us. They were both wonderful days filled with fun in the sun. We made the days work with cab & shuttle rides to and from the port to the beaches. From there we chairs and umbrellas that we either paid ($20- Grand Cayman) for or we free (Costa Maya) for use.

The other days were spent around port shopping and just walking around. Belize was the toughest day as it was our last port and it was so incredibly hot. But every port was great in its own way.

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– Dining-

We all loved the food on the cruise! The variety of foods meant that she could try a lot of different things so there was sure to be something that she would like. And there were things that she tried for the first time that she loved- like jello!

While everyone thinks there is food 24/7 it’s not really the case, there are set times when the restaurants and cafes are open. As our daughter is an early riser we spent many mornings waiting for the main restaurant on the 9th deck to open. We quickly learned that it was important to always have snacks available to ease the hungry toddler. Grabbing boxes of cereal, yogurt, and fruit when we left breakfast each day helped us get through snack time and those lunches when Autumn just wanted a yogurt and not any of the 50 choices we laid out in front of her.

Our diner servers were so awesome as they quickly learned how to make dinner run smoothly for all of us, including them! Autumn was a fan of the bread basket so they always brought that over quickly and we always kept our menu browsing time to .2 seconds so we could order as soon as possible to get our food out quickly. It was a bit rushed but it all worked well for us so we could all enjoy food.

There were nights when we just knew Autumn would be content with some bread and yogurt and then there were other nights when we ordered her an appetizer. I was a bit hesitant to order her any food but our server kindly reminded us that we paid for it so we might as well. There were nights when she loved what we ordered and their were nights she hated it, and then were were the nights she ate what I ordered for myself. ha!

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– Your Stateroom-

Unless you get a suite, your room is going to be cramped. That’s just the way it is when you have a small room and then add a pack and play.

As I was exclusively pumping, I needed a refrigerator in the room to store the milk. I called ahead and spoke with a Royal Caribbean agent who arranged that, along with our pack and play. Both are to arrive by8pm the day you embark on your cruise so it can make things tough if your child goes to be earlier (like ours), but be patient with your room steward as they are busting their butts that day.

I really suggest getting a mini fridge as this will help you keep your pumped breast milk/milk/formula, snacks, medicines, etc cold. We had to have a chair removed from our room to make room for it but it was so worth it. Unfortunately we couldn’t rip the built in sofa out of the room to make even more room. ha!!

Autumn wasn’t used to taking showers so they were kinda scary for her but she did well as we kept them quick. We found it worked well to tag team the ‘event’ so that she was in here with one of us and when she was done/completely over it the other could grab her, dry her off, diaper, and change her, while the other completed their shower.

I suggest bringing a surge protector as there are not many outlets in your room so with 1 outlet being dedicated to your mini fridge you are limited to can use the other outlet for. For example, if you are pumping then you have used both outlets and are unable to charge any of your devices while in the room.

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– Nursery-

We used the nursery on our Royal Caribbean Cruise throughout the week-long cruise in one way or another.

Babysitting was just $8 an hour (January 2015) which certainly beats our $12 rate in the Boston area. They had clean facilities and experienced staff who were excited to watch Autumn. Autumn loved the toys and movies they had playing and quickly took the staff getting snuggling in their laps to take a bottle before going to bed there while we were having our dinner. We would just get her, quietly walk to our room, and put her in the pack and play in our room to complete the wonderful night.

Unfortunately Autumn was the only kid to use the nursery that week. It would have been great to have met other families while using the toys during the open play times.

The kind staff even gave us a bag of toys at the start of the trip so that Autumn could have things to play with while we were in our room. We just returned it on the last day after lots of use.

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Our Top 10 Tips & Tricks To Successfully Cruise with a Baby or Toddler

Avoid tendered ports. Tendered ports are no fun for anyone, but they are even less fun for you and your infant as you have to lug your stuff and theirs on and off the boat that shuttles you from the ship to the port. Plus, there is the wait to get on the shuttle boat, load it, and then unload it. Babies aren’t always the most patient creatures!

-Bring a compact umbrella stroller. This is helpful for getting around in port or around the ship. It’s great for on the go napping. Plus, the storage helps you keep your hands free too.

-Bring a baby carrier. This is great when you are attending your muster station drill, getting on/off the ship, and in port. Plus, we find them to be really helpful when you are going through the airport.

Bring extra of everything! Pack more diapers, wipes, and formula than you think you would need. Better be safe than sorry. But be sure to pack efficiently too!

Request a mini refrigerator for your stateroom. Call ahead of arrange this. This is definitely needed if your formula feeding or pumping. Plus, it’s great for storing snacks.

Request the staff to remove any furniture, if possible. Our room steward took out a chair for us as we were cramped with a pack & play and the mini fridge.

Take portable snacks whenever possible. Grabbing boxes of cereal and fruit at breakfast is a great way to start the day to know you’ll have something on hand for when your in port or just around the boat.

Use the nursery, if available. We found this very helpful and just awesome. We used their open play times and babysitting services.

Try to maintain your typical schedule, especially for naps and meals. This worked well for us as the consistency was helpful for her to have some sort of routine.

Go with the flow!! While you should stick to your child’s normal schedule as much as possible, if your kid doesn’t eat, behave, or sleep like normal, just remember how this is a new experience to them so just follow their cues to make it work for everyone.

Bonus… Have fun!! It’s a cruise! It’s vacation! Always remember to have fun.