Cruising with Kids
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Lately I have noticed a big influx in parents booking cruises and then asking me for advice on what to do about car seats. As I have not yet gone on a cruise with my kids (and after this, not sure if I ever will!), I asked some of my tech friends for advice on how to travel with your car seats with your young kids. Hope this info helps!
What do you do with your car seat while on the ship?
There is room to store a carseat in the bottom of the closet in the smallest rooms
Store it in the shower when you aren't using it
How do we travel from the airport to the ship?
This depends on what type of transportation you are going to take. The safest possible thing you can do is to rent a car so that you are able to install your car seat.
If the cruise ship offers a shuttle, the safest way to use it would be to assure that at the least there is a lap belt that you can use to install your car seat
I would advise against traveling in a bus such as a greyhound
Why is it safe for a child to ride on a school bus but not a large bus such as a greyhound?
According to Colorado Minimum Standards Governing School Transportation Vehicles, "these multifunctional school activity buses (regular yellow school buses) are regulated by FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) which includes standards known as compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is a passive restraint system combining a high padded seat back and narrow seat spacing, creating a compartment within which each occupant is confined in severe vehicle crashes. This is why it is safe for our kids to ride on school busses without harness'. Coach style buses are not built to these same standards. In fact, there are no federal body (roof and side) or seat anchor standards for coach style buses."
Because more than likely you are not going to be in the United States, you can not be sure that it will have headrests, seatbelts, etc. making it extremely unsafe for a child to travel.
How do we take an excursion if we have children in car seats?
There is no simple answer to this question. From the research and discussions I have been having, it seems like there really is no way to SAFELY take an excursion with kids who need to be in a car seat.
There are a few things you can do to ensure you are traveling safely even if you do your homework ahead of time and are confident that you will be traveling safely, the cruise lines will do what they need to do in order to not cancel an excursion. That might mean if the coach bus they were planning on isn't available, they'll hire local taxis. That kind of switch can happen at the last minute and without warning.
-Rent a car to travel to your destination so that you are able to install your seat/use a booster seat
Take a cab, but be sure to inspect the cab before you take it ensuring that there are seatbelts so that you are able to install the seat/use a booster seat appropriately
3. Don't go :(
4. Leave your child on the ship with a babysitter or at the child care center (IF you decided to go this route, make sure that you book an excursion through the your ship's office. If you dont, and you go on an excursion through a third party and you do not make it back to the ship on time, it might leave without you!)
5. Only take the excursions where you can get right off the ship and walk to your destination
What should I bring with me to make this slightly easier?
Rolling luggage cart-you will use this to tote around your car seat if you end up taking an excursion, scroll up for the link to purchase or search amazon for different ones!
A compact and light car seat, see the travel blog post for great travel car seats
Locking Clip-If you do end up taking a cab or renting a car, you don't have much of an idea of how the seatbelts will work. In order to install your car seat using a seatbelt, the seatbelt must lock. It is fairly common for cabs outside of the US to not have a locking mechanism. This is when a locking clip is needed, so make sure you have one handy!
See the video below on how to install a locking clip