Planning a cruise whilst pregnant or with a toddler or newborn baby seems easy in theory. But over the last few months I have attempted both and found out it wasn’t as simple as I thought. This was due to a few policies the cruise liners had. I thought I might share my new found knowledge with you. In case you are planning or considering a cruise whilst pregnant or with a baby in tow in the new future.
The key rule that I overlooked when booking and then having to cancel our cruise was ‘how pregnant I would be on the cruise’. I was naive, and assumed the ruling would be similar to that of flying domestic or international.
You will find that you will not be able to get on a cruise ship if you are or will be 24 weeks pregnant or more. In the simplest terms, there will be no cruising for a pregnant woman once she has passed 23 weeks and 6 days. Regardless if she got on the ship prior to being 23 weeks and 6 days.
In simple terms cruise ships do have medical facilities but are not equipped to deal with birth, preterm birth or neonatal care.
Most cruise liners if not all will want a letter from your GP confirming you are fit to travel and confirming your Estimated Due Date (EDD) and you will not be cruising anywhere without it.
Here is a handy website I found that lists most Cruise Liners rulings on pregnancy:
Travel Insurance & Pregnancy
The likes of travel insurance companies such as Covermore also have the same ruling and only cover pregnancy up to the 24th week (23 weeks, 6 days).
However I did find Columbus Direct do offer certain cover for pregnancy which is available up to the 30th week of pregnancy, which is good to know for any future travel not on a cruise ship.
Cruising with Baby
The second time I went to book a cruise (the first time I was 3 days too far along in my pregnancy to be accepted on a cruise) I couldn’t book it due to some of the following baby rules:
For domestic cruises: An infant is required to be at least 6mths old (on the first day of the cruise).
For international cruises: An infant is required to be a least 12mths old (on the first day of the cruise).
It’s usually due to limited neo-natal facilities on board and at ports of call.
When exploring Family Friendly Cruise Line options and reading the fine print it is also worth noting:
- Most cruise liners will expect that children under 2 years old must remain with a parent/guardian at all times.
- The likes of Carnival & P&O Cruises do not supply baby supplies, formula, nappies or baby food on board the ship.
- Children who are not toilet trained (and those still in nappies or swim nappies) are not allowed in any of the water facilities on board. This includes pools, waterslides and water park.
- Kids clubs start at 2yrs old. Children under 2 are unable to attend. There is no in room/ in cabin babysitting offered either.
With P&O they will let parents with children under 2 use the Kids Club facilities as long as the parent is there supervising at all times.
With Carnival their policy states “Camp Carnival cannot accept children under the age of 2 unless they are turning 2 years old on the cruise. There are no age exceptions to this policy. There are specific times on board each ship that under-2 year olds are welcome into the facility. Each ship operates differently based on the itinerary.”
So there you have it. You may have noticed most of this information is based on the P&O Cruises & Carnival as they were what suited us best. For those wondering:
P&O Cruises & Carnival General Info:
- P&O Cruise – depart from Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne & Sydney.
Being water lovers – our boat of choice was the Explorer as it is the biggest ship with 3 swimming pools, waterslides & waterparks. (The Explorer only departs from Sydney)
Our second choice was Dawn the second largest with 2 swimming pools, waterslides & waterparks. (The Dawn only departs from Brisbane)
The other 3 ships all have 2 pools but no waterpark or waterslides.
- Carnival – depart from Sydney, Melbourne.
The Spirit & Legend are said to be very similar ships with the same facilities.
I am currently looking at the P&O Explorer and the Carnival Spirit. If you have been on either with your family feel free to drop a comment below with your thoughts and insight!