Cruise Line Policies: Minimum Age for Infants to Cruise

My 6 month old on the MSC Poesia with his grandpa and sister

Bringing your baby on a cruise can be a fun experience especially if you have help from the grandparents!   The crew members absolutely love to see babies on the ships as they often miss their own families back at home, and well babies are just cute!

Below is a list by cruise line of the minimum ages for infants to cruise.  Please note that even if there is no minimum age, it can be very difficult and expensive to get a US Passport for an infant shortly after his/her birth.  You need to receive the infant’s Social Security number as well as the Birth Certificate to apply for a passport.  Both of those can take several weeks to arrive after the birth. 

Planning a cruise for when the infant is 6 months old is fairly safe as long as you get the passport application in shortly after receiving your child’s Social Security card and official Birth Certificate.

Not all cruises require a US Passport, but it is definitely safer to have one in case anything happens while in port in a foreign country.

Carnival:

  • 6 months old – All except below
  • 12 months old - Transatlantic, Hawaii and South American cruises

Celebrity:

  • 6 months oldas of the first day of the cruise/cruisetour Except below.
  • 12 months old –  Transatlantic, Transpacific, select South American cruises/cruisetours and other select cruises/cruisetours (Any cruise that has 3 or more consecutive days at sea will require infants to be 12 months old on the first day of the cruise/CruiseTour).

Costa:

  • 6 months on embarkation
  • 12 months on embarkation for: trans-ocean crossings (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, etc.), World cruises, cruises of 15 days or longer duration, and any other itinerary which may in the opinion of Costa Crociere or CCL present serious risk to infants in need of emergency medical care.

Disney:

  • 12 weeks old on the date you sail.

Holland America:

  • 6 months old - All except below
  • 12 months old - For transocean cruises at the time of sailing

MSC:

  • No minimum age requirement

Norwegian (NCL):

  • 6 months old – All except below
  • 12 months old -  For cruises with 3 or more consecutive days at sea

Princess:

  • 6 months old - Alaska, Canada & New England, Caribbean & Mexican Riviera, Europe, and Panama Canal sailings
  • 12 months old – Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Indian Subcontinent, South Pacific, Tahiti, Hawaii, South America, Transpacific, and Transatlantic sailings

Royal Caribbean:

  • 6 months old - As of the first day of the sailing Except below
  • 12 months old- Transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii, select South American and other selected cruises and/or CruiseTours.  Basically any cruise that has 3 or more days consecutive at sea will require infants to be 12 months old on the first day of the cruise/CruiseTour.

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Cruise Line Policies: Pregnancy

Session - Marchiori Family - Ciudad Jardín del Palomar - Buenos Aires
Creative Commons License photo credit: emilianohorcada

Taking a cruise while pregnant not seem like a great choice, but I have seen several ladies do it and actually seem to enjoy themselves.  If it can be planned, cruising sometime between 13 weeks and 23 weeks of pregnancy would probably be ideal.  The second trimester is usually the best time to travel as you are usually over the morning sickness and not too big to be too uncomfortable.  Rough seas and morning sickness could make for a pretty miserable cruise vacation.

Here is a list of the pregnancy policies by cruise line:

Carnival

NOT reached 25 weeks by disembarkation (last day of cruise).

All pregnant women are required to produce a physician’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD).

Celebrity

Can NOT have entered the 24th week of pregnancy by the date of embarkation or the beginning of the cruisetour.

They also require a physician’s “Fit to Travel” note faxed to them prior to sailing, stating how far along (in weeks) your pregnancy will be at the beginning of the cruise and confirming that you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy.

Costa

24 completed weeks or less on the date of cruise disembarkation. 

Cost requires all pregnant women to provide a physician’s letter at embarkation stating the estimated date of delivery and that mother and baby are in good health and fit to travel

Disney

Can NOT have entered the 24th week of pregnancy on the day of Embarkation

Holland America

NOT entered 24th week by the end of the cruise.

MSC

NOT entered 28th week of pregnancy by the end of the cruise.

They also require a medical certificate of fitness to travel.

Norwegian

NOT entered 24th week of pregnancy by the end of the cruise.

Must provide a medical certificate establishing your due date prior to your cruise.

Princess

Can NOT have entered the 24th week prior to the end of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean

Can NOT have entered 24th week of pregnancy by the end of the cruise.

A physician’s “Fit to Travel” note is required prior to sailing, stating how far along (in weeks) your pregnancy will be at the beginning of the cruise and confirming that you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy.

TripMama

Cruise Line Policies: Tipping / Gratuities

Tip the piano man
Creative Commons License photo credit: bandita

Carnival Cruise Line:  

$10.00 per guest, per day

Automatically charges the gratuities for dining and stateroom staff to your onboard Sail & Sign account. The total amount is as follows:
$3.50 Per Day Stateroom Services             
$5.50 Per Day Dining Room Services        
$1.00 Per Day Alternative Services: distributed to other kitchen and hotel service staff
For Cruises-To-Nowhere, gratuities of $10 per guest, per day must be prepaid.

For beverage purchases, 15 percent of the bill is automatically added to the Sail & Sign charge. Room Service staff may be tipped as service is rendered. Tipping your Maître d’ is at your discretion, based upon the service you receive.
Of course you may contact guest services if you feel that the tip should be reduced.

Celebrity Cruises:

$11.50 per person per day for guests in staterooms (higher for concierge and suites)

Gratuities for your dining and stateroom services will be automatically charged to your onboard Seapass account on a daily basis in the following amounts, which may be adjusted at your discretion.

Waiter $3.65
Assistant Waiter $2.10
Dining Room Management $1.00
Stateroom Service  $3.50
Other Service Personnel $1.25

Beverage Service personnel are acknowledged with a 15% service charge which will be automatically added to the bill.

Disney Cruise Line:

$12 per person per day recommended

Per Guest per Day 
Dining Room Server $4
Dining Room Asst. Server $3
Dining Room Head Server $1
Stateroom Host/Hostess $4
Dining Manager - Your Discretion    
Room Service – Your Discretion    
Palo – Gratuity included    
Vista Spa & Salon - Your Discretion    
Babysitting Gratuity – not expected    
Shore Excursions - Optional; not included in shore excursion price.    

15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs.  All gratuities can be charged to your room charge.

Holland America:

$11 per person per day

Hotel Service Charge is automatically charged to each guest’s shipboard account. If our service exceeds or fails to meet your expectations, you are free to adjust this amount at the end of the cruise. The Hotel Service Charge is paid to Holland America Line crew members, and represents an important part of their total compensation package.

15% gratuity is automatically added to bar charges and dining room wine purchases

MSC Cruises:

Caribbean and North American Cruises (including spring transatlantic cruises):
$12 day per adult; $6 per day per child under 18

I am almost positive that children 3 and under are free.

Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises:
- 8 days or less: 7 Euro/day per adult
- more than 8 days: 6 Euro/day per adult including autumn transatlantic cruises
There is no service charge for children under the age of 14, whereas guests between the ages of 14 and 17 will be charged 50% of the above rates.

Their website states that the service charges are fixed, but I know that when we went on the MSC Poesia in November 2009, my father adjusted the gratuity because he was not pleased with the maitre’d (we did not get seated together!).

Norwegian Cruise Line:

$12 per person per day ages 3+

Children under 3 are NOT charged a gratuity!

Tipping is called Onboard Service Charge.  It can be prepaid or paid on your onboard account.

Beverage staff are automatically tipped 15%.  Spa services have an 18% service charge.

You may adjust your service charge amount at your discretion.  Please note that the Kid’s Crew staff is not in the tipping pool!  They will provide an envelope the last day to give the staff a cash tip.

Princess Cruises:

$10.50 per person per day (including children) – $11 for suites and mini-suites

The discretionary Hotel and Dining Charge will be automatically added to your onboard account each day.  The Casino dealers and spa personnel do not share in this charge.

15% is automatically added to bar bills and dining room wine purchases.

Royal Caribbean International:

$11.65 per person per day (as of July 1, 2011) – $13.90 for suites

Waiter: $3.75
Assistant Waiter: $2.15
Head Waiter: $.75
Housekeeping staff: $5.00  (Suite Housekeeping staff: $7.25)

Gratuities are voluntary and at the discretion of each guest.  Envelopes for gratuities will be provided in your stateroom on the last night of the cruise. Gratuities may be paid in the following ways:  Prepaid by having them added to your reservation by your booking agent,  added to your onboard SeaPass account, OR paid in cash at the end of the cruise.

15% is automatically added to bar and wine bills.


Family Cruises from $599pp

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