Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

Why Cruising is the perfect baby friendly holiday!

Lee and I went on our first cruise at the tender age of 22 and since then we were hooked. So we just knew that we had to take Samuel on one and we had been desperate to do the Norwegian Fjords for years. 

Lee and I on our first cruise

I know a lot of people wouldn’t consider taking a baby on a cruise and you know what they really should! Here are 10 reasons why cruising is the perfect baby friendly holiday:

  1. You can take as much luggage as you like. There is no limit to the number of cases or bags. Plenty of room for all that baby paraffernalia (we even took our perfect prep machine). 
  2. Check in literally takes 20 minutes! You arrive at the port, hand over your bags (see reason 3), go through security and passport control and then on to the ship to start your holiday. There is no waiting around so babies don’t get chance to get bored. 
    Samuel with all our luggage
  3. Your bags are delivered to your cabin and at the end of your holiday you place them outside your door so they can be taken off the ship. No need to worry about carrying all those bags and carrying a baby. 
  4. You are in a different place everyday so there is always something new to see and do. You will have a very well travelled baby with all the different ports of call. And just think of all the lovely memories you are creating together.
  5. The ship is so big with shops, swimming pools, bars, cinema and theatre. Lots to keep you and your little ones entertained. 
  6. There is a kids club with a play area suitable for babies and toddlers. The equipment is sterilised twice a day and the toys can be loaned out so you can use them in your cabin. No need to bring any with you. 
  7. The ship is so clean. There are constantly people cleaning and hand gel pumps everywhere to encourage good hygiene. Samuel loved crawling around on the floor and I never once felt worried about him picking anything up or getting dirty. 
  8. Travel cots are provided along with towels and beach towels. Again more luggage you don’t have to worry about taking.
    Samuel preferred playing in the cot rather than sleeping in it!
  9. Every cabin has a fridge. Perfect for storing milk and baby food. 
  10. At the end of the holiday you are given a time to depart the ship (which you request) so you can go and enjoy breakfast before heading home. 

So there you go! We travelled with Celebrity Cruises this time and as you can probably tell from previous posts we had a fantastic time. The only thing that went against them in terms of being baby friendly were the lack of baby change facilities on board the ship. There was only one baby change unit and that was near the kids club on deck 15. So if you were no where near that you had to go back to your cabin or make do with the toilet floor (it was very clean). A small thing but annoying if there was a poosplosion incident for example. Despite that I would definitely recommend cruising with babies. It was so easy and a lot of fun!

    Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

    Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Stavanger

    Our final port of call was the city of Stavanger. Located on the southwestern corner of Norway the cruise ships are able to dock right in the city centre. 

    We headed into the heart of the city centre with its cobble streets and well known shops. We then happened to stumble upon Øvre Holmegate. A quirky street, lined with bright coloured buildings, consisting mainly of bars and cafes. We decided to stop for a coffee at the colourful Hanekan. The weather was beautiful so we made the most of it and sat outside. 

    We then took a steady walk back down towards the port taking advantage of the great view of the ship and found a pub with seats outside. 

    The Hanson HjΓΈrnet had a fabulous atmosphere but like most places in Norway the drinks were very expensive. 6 beers came to nearly Β£50. That being said as it was our last port of call we had another and got some nachos to share. 

    Afterwards it was a quick stop for postcards and it was back to the ship for a swim. Another fabulous day was had. 

    Cruising, First time Mum, Travel

    Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Alesund

    On Thursday we arrived in Alesund at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord. It is known for its Art Nouveau architecture and fairytale like turrets can be seen on many of the buildings. 

    Upon leaving the port we headed for the town centre. There were lots of high street style shops and restaurants to explore but as that was not what we had come for we circled back round towards the ship. 

    We decided to go in the opposite direction and were pleased we did. We stumbled across the older part of the town with lovely views and nice bars and restaurants. 

    The babies were napping so we found a bar that had seating outside. Once again it was a beautiful day. The bar was called Anno. It was situated on the waterfront and seemed popular. We ordered beer and a hot chocolate for me and enjoyed chatting and watching the world go by. As it was so nice we decided to stay on and have another drink. I had a wine this time and we also ordered pizza and olives to share, both of which were delicious. 

    We then headed back to the ship to once again make the most of the glorious weather.

    Cruising, First time Mum, Travel

    Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Geiranger

    On our third day we arrived in Geiranger which lies at the head of the Geirangerforden. Named as the best travel destination in Scandinavia by Lonely Planet, the Geirangerfjord area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

    We exited the ship and into Geiranger via the long gangway which zigzagged from the Eclipse to the port side. The little ones quickly fell asleep for their naps as we took a wonder through the small village of only a few shops, cafes and a supermarket. 

    We were heading for the waterfall walk; 327 steps going close to the Storfossen (waterfall). The waterfall walk runs from Geiranger Centre up to the Norwegian Fjord Centre and hotel Union with fantastic views along the whole route. 
    We took it in turns to go up so there was someone to stay with the babies (definitely not a walk for small children). 

    We then went back into the village and found a local cafe/bar to enjoy a drink. Lee had a beer and I had a delicious hot chocolate. As it was another nice day it was then back on to the ship to enjoy the sunshine. 

    Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

    Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Flam

    Our second port of call was the beautiful Flam. Situated in Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sagnefjord. It has a population of only 350 but has on average 450,000 visitors a year. Most come for the Flam Railway which takes you to the high mountain plateau at Myrdal.

    As we had 2 little ones with us we decided just to get off the ship and have a leisurely stroll around. We had spotted a children’s playground from the ship and this was our first stop so Samuels cousin Henry could have a play. I don’t think I have ever been to a playground and been surrounded by such incredible views. 

    We then headed down to the shoreline for some pictures then back up into the main village to look in the souvenir shops and get ourselves a drink. 

    We went to a local bakery and enjoyed tea, coffee and the biggest cookies I have ever seen. 

    Next we decided to take a walk up the mountain side to make the most of the views. It was a steady walk and not too steep. There were some fantastic vantage points and some interesting pieces of art/sculpture along the route. 

    When it started to get a bit too high for my mum we headed back down and found a local bar. We sat outside as it was lovely and warm and the adults enjoyed a beer whilst the children played. 

    We then headed back to the ship to enjoy the views from the sun beds and allow Samuel and Henry to have a swim. It was strange sunbathing and seeing snow on the mountains. Not the weather we were expecting at all! 

    That evening we enjoyed a glass of champagne and breathtaking views as we sailed out of Flam and on to our next port of call. 

    Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

    Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Bergen

    What a fantastic cruise we have had on board the Celebrity Eclipse. Over the next week or so I will be posting about our adventures around the Norwegian Fjords and on board the ship. 

    Our first port of call was Bergen, a city on Norway’s southwestern coast. Here we had an excursion booked to take us to a waterfall and a local fruit farm. We took the  1 and half hour journey by coach (car seats were provided for Samuel and his 21 month old cousin Henry), along the Hardanger Fjord and through the snow covered mountains. It was such a lovely day in Bergen we were not expecting to drive through snow and see frozen lakes. 

    We arrived at the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall. A stunning waterfall that you can walk under without getting wet. Samuel loved this and was mesmerised by the falling water. 

    There was a little gift shop and cafe here with spectacular views of the waterfall. 

    A short drive back on the bus took us to SteinstΓΈ Fruit Farm where we were greeted by the owners. A family run business for 8 generations. We sampled their delicious apple pie, served in the restaurant, and tasted the sweet apple juice whilst the owner told us all about her life growing up and working on the farm. 

    Afterwards her husband (who is also a local policeman) took us on a short tour of the orchard. The views were amazing and we could really see the appeal of living and working in such a beautiful place. 

    A quick look in the shop before heading back on the bus for the journey back to the ship. Our tour guide was fantastic and shared her knowledge of the local area as well as folk tales about trolls as we drove through the mountain tunnels. We were so glad that we had took the trip as we got to see things we wouldn’t have otherwise.