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So our family makes a trip to Disney World about once a year, and we've been waiting for the younger of our two daughters to turn 3 before we'd take a cruise so they'd both be old enough for the Oceaneer Club/Lab, could swim in the family pools, etc.--which would be this spring. But then, we got a big surprise this past year and now have a new baby. Really not wanting to start all over and wait 3 more years before we can do a cruise.
Wondering if it's worth it to go ahead and go when our new little one is only about 11 months old? Seeing that there's a limit on time they can spend in the nursery, DH is concerned that it won't be a fun and relaxing vacation for the rest of us. That somebody will always be tending to the baby and have to stay out of participating in the things that make the cruise great. He says when we go to Disney World, there's an expectation that we'll be moving at a faster pace anyway, so tending to a baby isn't as big of a deal (no different than meeting all of the potty, snacks, etc. needs of our other two), but that on a cruise we wouldn't be able to really just lounge around and stuff.
Who's got experience cruising with a baby, especially if it was your first cruise? Did you enjoy yourself?
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I think it would be easier to go on a cruise with a baby that age then WDW. You are always close to your room for naps/quiet time, etc. And as far as having a "fun and relaxing" time, well, I am sorry to say but what did you expect when having kids. LOL Your life is not your own anymore. So that is how life is going to be for the next 20 years or so.
We took our youngest on a Disney Cruise when she was 3 months old and again at 15 months. I personally think the younger they are the easier it is for a Disney Cruise compared to WDW. We took her to WDW at 11 months and it was so challenging because she had just learned to walk and when it's crowded, you can't just put them down without being trampled over! The nursery staff on board are fantastic! We did get off at St. Thomas, left her at the nursery, and just walked around. We wanted our oldest to see the culture. Both of those cruises we were just looking to relax, not go crazy with excursions. What was a pain, was the pool. My husband and I had to take turns, we took the baby to the splash pad (which on the Dream or Fantasy is nice b/c it's covered) and the oldest in the big pool. Other than the pool, I think cruising with a young one is just fine and enjoying. I would suggest having an idea on nursery times because you can book that in advance, which I suggest doing. Otherwise you're not always guaranteed a nursery reservation, but they do try their best to accommodate!
I'll kind of echo what others say. I haven't cruised ever, but I traveled a TON with my son from birth through 18 mos with DH's work.
Someone is always "on" the baby. If your oldest isn't old enough to watch baby reliably, it's going to be you or DH at all times, unless she's in the nursery.
That said, not sure what vacay would be better than a cruise. There is childcare for some of the time, pools, your own room close by for relaxing, and they do nap some of the time, meaning you can too. If she'll nap in a stroller, all the better!
What would have me most concerned is the dining. So much of the cruise experience is restaurants, and once my son was crawling, he NEVER wanted to stay at the table. It made restaurants a nightmare, until he was about 2.5.
You and DH know your family best, but there's always a sacrifice by at least one parent, it seems, until they are about 4.
Just to mention... while you can only pre-book a set number of hours in the nursery, once you are onboard they will allow you to book more time pending availability. The pre-book limit is to make sure each family gets a chance at some hours -- some will want more and some less. Very seldom have I heard of anyone turned away when they asked for more hours onboard. Just use your pre-book for the absolute must-have times so it's guaranteed, then ask onboard about more.
We have four children and have cruised with each of them at times when they were under 1. It was still a great time for all. Yes, you have to plan out your time and reserve the nursery, but everything on the cruise is so family involved, that you will enjoy the time with the baby too.
However, I will agree that there are some things that you may have to experience separately, with one of you staying with the baby in the stateroom, like the Pirate Night Fireworks (none of our children could make it up that late).