Our Ultimate Guide to Packing for Children, Babies and Toddlers

So you're on your way to your first cruise as a family. Sounds exciting, right? It get's even more exciting when you start imagining all the fun activities and event's you'll be attending during your long awaited holiday.

Yes, everybody is in high spirits in anticipation of this special week or two to come…until the day you have to do the packing.

For couples without kids, packing is very simple and straightforward. You already know what you need and you can even try to limit the things you are bringing to save space. But with kids in the picture, packing involves very thoughtful and careful planning. Remember, you will be away from the familiarity of your home and live in a whole new place for days. The last thing you want to happen is run out of things as simple as nappies or not being able to go out and enjoy the sun because you forgot the sunscreen for the baby.

There will be times when you will just wish you could bring the whole house with you on your trip so everything will be there when you need it. But the challenge for you now is to bring the most important things on your trip and being able to squeeze them into your limited baggage space.

If you’re about to pack for your cruise, take a deep breath. Everything will be okay. We have a long list that will help you know what to pack for children on a cruise. Whether you have a baby, a toddler, or a child, you will find this list helpful in preparing for your first family cruise.

You already know your children’s primary needs, so we haven’t included those in this list. What we have here are the things that you will likely forget or dismiss as unnecessary for the trip.

1. Baby Monitor

Yes, you may be on a family vacation, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be getting any moment of peace from your active kids. If you wish to take a few minutes out on the balcony while the kids are asleep, a baby monitor will be your best friend.

2. Medication

Does your children get sick often? What are their medications? Make sure you have them in your kit. Be prepared in case your children catches a cold or gets a sore throat. And since you are going on a cruise, it will be a good idea to have enough medicine for motion sickness.

3. Sunscreen Lotion

You'll be out in the sun alot so make sure you always have the kids’ sunscreen lotion ready. If you have both a baby and a child, you might need to get two separate ones. There are different types of sunscreen lotions depending on the age of your child.

Children in the Waterpark

4. Swimming Clothes

If your kids are planning to have a dip in the pool, don’t forget to bring swimming clothes or all hell will break loose. You can bring regular swimmers or a rash guard. The latter would be better as it gives more protection to your children’s skin. If you can bring two pairs for each child, all the better.

5. Swimming Nappies

This is a must if you have a baby or toddler with you. But that is, if the cruise ship will allow your kids in the pool. Some cruise ships tend to be very strict with putting babies and toddlers who are not potty trained yet in their pools.

Now, if you're wondering what a swimming nappy looks like, it is actually very similar to a regular nappy. It's just that a swimming nappy is designed to hold both urine and poo inside the nappy while the baby or toddler is swimming. It also doesn't absorb pool water so the nappy will not swell.

6. Baby Shampoo

Shampoos are usually available for free on cruise ships. However, if you have a baby or toddler in tow, they might not have a ‘no more tears’ shampoo. To avoid getting into trouble with your kid during bath time, it would be wise to bring some baby shampoo on your trip.

7. Pram or Stroller

You'll be on holiday, so let yourself feel like you're on holiday. Bringing a lightweight pram or stroller will help you save enough energy to have fun and appreciate your time away instead of carrying your babies around every time you leave the cabin. This also helps keep your toddlers safely strapped and not go wandering around the cruise ship.

8. Toys and Books

When you're on a cruise, you won't always be outside. There will be times that you just stay inside and rest. While you're resting, make sure your children have something to entertain themselves. You can bring their favourite handy toys or books so they won't get bored.

9. Extra Clothes

Unlike adults, children love dirt and mess. It would be a good idea to bring extra clothes for emergency purposes.

10. Electronic Devices

Electronic devices such as mobile phones, iPads, and laptops can help you keep your kids entertained during downtime, especially the older children.

11. Power Board and Power Adaptors

If you're bringing electronic devices with you, it might be a good idea to bring a small extension cord or power board. Cruise ships tend to have limited power points so if your family is quite large, it would better to bring a power board.

Power adaptors are a must as well. And remember to clarify with your cruise liner what type of sockets they have. Different cruise liners have different types of sockets. You don't want to bring an adaptor with you and find out when you arrive that it doesn't fit.

12. Bathroom Deodorizer

Cabins bathrooms sometimes don't have a good exhaust system. Do your family a favour and bring an air freshener or a bathroom deodoriser. The last thing you want is for them to regret going on this trip every time you do your thing in the bathroom!

13. Baggies/Ziplock bags

Baggies or Ziplock bags are very useful when you go on a cruise. For one, you can put your electronic devices and earplugs in there so they won't get wet. If you are with your children, all the more useful to carry around their snacks as you go around since they will be asking for snacks every once in a while. It is also a good idea to bring these to put in stuff that your kids will buy while you're on an off shore tour.

14. Duct Tape

You might be wondering why you need duct tape in a cruise. But if you think about it, it is actually very helpful. If you are bringing your baby or toddler with you, you will actually need it for baby proofing your cabin. You don't want them to tinker with anything that will possibly cause accidents. Just remember to bring oil with you to clean it up before you leave.

15. Lanyards

Most mums advise to bring lanyards for your kids when you're planning your cruise holiday. And it is a very good suggestion. Cruise ships have what they call ship pass, and since your kids are always moving around, there’s a tendency for them to lose their cards. Lanyards have helped a lot of mums keep the ship passes attached to their kids’ necks.

So there you have it - our list of what to pack for children on a cruise. There are still a lot of things that we may not have mentioned, but sometimes, it depends on your specific situation. Our advice for you is to give a few weeks allowance before your trip to come up with your own list. Once you have your list with you, it will be easier to gather them and make sure that you won't forget anything when the big family trip comes. Oh.......and don't forget their favourite Teddy!!

Checklist

We've created a checklist below for you to print out and tick off the items.

  • Baby Monitor
  • Baby Wipes
  • Bibs
  • Blankets
  • Baby Shampoo
  • Cotton Buds
  • Dummies
  • Teddy / Blanky
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • iPad / iPhone etc (including Chargers / USBs)
  • Lanyards
  • Medication
  • Nappies
  • Power Adaptors / Power Board
  • Pram
  • Pyjamas
  • Sensitive Soaps
  • Shoes / Slippers / Thongs
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimmers
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
  • Toys

Have we missed anything? Add your comments below.