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All About Cruise Ship Babysitting

Kids on Cruise (Photo: Brocreative/Shutterstock)
Kids on Cruise (Photo: Brocreative/Shutterstock)

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In addition to kids clubs that offer daytime and evening programming to keep kids, tweens and teens occupied, all major cruise lines offer babysitting as well. Yet parents can easily become confused since the services vary widely by cruise line. Not all ships offer babysitting for kids under 3 or in-room care, and daytime, nighttime and mealtime hours range widely.

Need to find out if you'll be able to get a babysitter for your 1 year old? Want to ensure you can go out dancing at night without worrying about who's going to watch your kids? Cruise Critic has gathered everything you need to know about cruise ship babysitting.

Updated January 8, 2020

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival offers two types of cruise babysitting. The first is for kids under 2 years of age and is only available during select times. On sea days, the Under 2 program runs for a limited number of hours (which vary by sailing and demand) at a cost of $6.75 per hour, plus a 15 percent gratuity, per child. On port days, parents can leave their toddlers at the kids club throughout the day (same cost) but youth staff will not feed children.

For kids ages 2 to 11, group babysitting is available at night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the kids club facility. The program, called Night Owls, also costs $6.75 plus a 15 percent gratuity per hour, per child. Kids do not need to be potty trained to participate in Night Owls.

There is no in-cabin babysitting.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity offers both group and in-cabin babysitting on its cruise ships. The group sitting takes place in the Fun Factory facility and is only offered from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. This "slumber party" is open to kids ages 3 to 11 and the fee is $6 per hour, per child.

In-cabin babysitting is also available for up to three children from the same family. It's available on a first come, first served basis, costs $19 per hour and includes two babysitters. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance and one parent or guardian must be onboard the ship during the entire length of the babysitting session. Children must be at least 12 months old to participate.

Costa Cruises

Costa offers late-night group babysitting for kids 3 to 11 years old, from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The service is free, but parents must sign up at least 24 hours in advance.

No in-cabin babysitting is available.

Cunard

A nighttime babysitting nursery service is available at no extra cost for babies and toddlers, 6 months to 23 months, between 6 and 11 p.m. on all Cunard cruises. Parents will need to provide their own baby food or preorder, at no extra cost, ahead of their cruise.

There is no in-cabin babysitting available.

Disney Cruise Line

It’s a Small World Nursery on the Disney Dream (Photo: Disney)

Disney offers scheduled activities for kids 3 and older through midnight; as a result, the line does not offer any babysitting services for that age group. But Disney does offer nursery babysitting for babies and toddlers 6 months to 3 years old (or 1 to 3 years old on transatlantic and Panama Canal itineraries). 

Daily operating hours vary but nighttime hours are usually 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations are required (with pre-cruise online reservations highly recommended) and the cost is $4.50 per half-hour for the first child and $4 per half-hour for any additional children in the same family.

There is no in-cabin babysitting available.

Holland America

Nighttime group babysitting, called Club HAL After Hours, is available for kids ages 3 to 12 from 10 p.m. to midnight. The cost is $5 per hour, per child.

At other times, for children under 5, there is limited in-cabin babysitting available on a first come, first served basis, but only on sea days. The cost for in-cabin babysitting is $10 per hour for the first child and $7 per hour for each additional child.

MSC Cruises

Group babysitting is available at night, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., for children ages 3 and older only. (Children must be potty trained to participate.) The cost is $6 per child for the first hour or $10 per child for the entire night. 

For kids under 3, only day and evening group babysitting is available as part of the line's complimentary MSC Babycare program. This service is for kids ages 1 year to 3 years old; hours are 9 to 11 a.m., 4 to 6 p.m. and 8 to 9 p.m. on port days and 8 to 10 a.m. and 8. to 9 p.m. on sea days. (Longer hours may be offered on MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, MSC Opera, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Armonia, which all have larger nurseries.)

There is no in-cabin babysitting available.  

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian offers late-night group babysitting, as well as a mealtime babysitting service. The meal escort service is for kids ages 3 to 13 and costs $6 per child, per meal. (Breakfast meal escort service requires day-before registration, while lunch and dinner escort service can be signed up for that day.)

The Late Night Fun Zone group babysitting is offered every night from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Children must be between the ages of 3 and 12 years old (and be potty trained) and the cost is $6 per hour for the first child, plus $4 per hour for each additional sibling.

Norwegian also offers a Guppies nursery service for children 6 months to under 3 years old, but only on Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss. Hours vary by itinerary; Guppies nursery babysitting costs $20 per time block session (a time block session is one hour and 50 minutes, with a 10-minute transitional window for pickup) for the first child and $16 per time block session for each additional sibling. Late-night fees (11 p.m. to 1:20 a.m.) are $24 per time block session for the first child and $20 per time block session for each additional sibling. Reservations for Guppies nursery babysitting is required.

There is no in-cabin babysitting.

Princess Cruises

Group babysitting is offered nightly from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Kids must be between the ages of 3 and 12 and be potty trained to participate. The cost is $5 per hour, per child.

No in-cabin babysitting is available on any Princess ship.

Royal Caribbean

Grandeur of the Seas Nursery (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

Two types of group babysitting is available on Royal Caribbean. From 10:15 p.m. to 2 a.m., kids ages 3 to 11 can attend the Late Night Party Zone at a cost of $7 per hour, per child. Or, for kids under 3 (and at least 6 months old), there is a group nursery babysitting service available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (for $6 per child, per hour) and 6 p.m. to midnight (for $8 per child, per hour). Only 12 babies and toddlers can be in the nursery at once, so reservations are highly recommended.

There is no in-cabin babysitting.

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