Norwegian Bliss is Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship. It has everything imaginable on board – a go-kart track, laser tag, fantastic restaurants, amazing Broadway-type shows, and the best crew in the business. NCL has an eye on the future; they want mum and dad to have a good time, and they want the children to be wowed too. The company’s youth programme is second to none. There are a number of Kid’s Clubs, from Guppies (6 months to three years old) to the Entourage teen hangout for 13-17 year olds.
Travelling with a baby raises many questions. We’ll try to answer as many as possible for those travelling with babies aged 6 months up to 3 years.
Guppies for the Little Ones
The Guppies playroom on board Norwegian Bliss is the largest in the NCL fleet.
Guppies plays host to the younger children, where they can enjoy up to two hours of interactive parent-child activities each day. These activities can include sensory play, painting, reading, messy play and a whole host of other things. The sessions are hosted by a specially-trained Early Years Coordinator. With the program being specially designed to nurture the needs of younger children.
Children should be registered as soon as you board the ship. However, it is not allowed to book more than two consecutive sessions.
Guppies Open Play provides a great space for parents and babies to play together with a variety of toys, balls, interactive games, and blocks. This is offered across the NCL fleet but is not a child drop-off programme.
Guppies Hosted Activities are led by the Early Years Coordinator for parents and babies. This is offered across the NCL fleet and does not offer a drop-off programme. Activities might include Sensory Play, Music and Movement and Colours of the Rainbow. A full range of sensory toys, books and games are available to use.
Guppies Nursery is provided on Norwegian Bliss (not all NCL ships have this facility). This is a fee-based drop off nursery for children 6 months to under 3 years old. The Nursery requires each child to be registered on board and reservations are essential for time slots throughout the sailing. Programmes are overseen by certified Nursery Attendants and offer the kids a wide range of toys, and engaging, sensory, and developmental activities linked to a daily theme.
Each session is $20 for the first child, and additional siblings cost $16. However, you can’t drop off sleeping children and pick up times are very strict. If you are 30 minutes late you lose the place and still have to pay for it. Port days allow small children to be looked after, but a contactable person must stay on board the ship and they are provided with a phone.
The Nursery Coordinator and Nursery Attendants are all educated in the child care industry. They are certified in nursery care by Paragon Training and American Red Cross, influenced by Florida State guidelines. They are also trained in Infant, Child, & Adult First Aid, CPR, and AED.
Some Equipment Highlights
A few books were placed on display, for reading to the young children in Guppies; the titles include How Dinosaurs Love their Dogs; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See, and Walking through the Jungle). There were also square crayons for colouring – easy to hold and grip with small hands.
In addition we spotted some ‘Wee Can Too’ Veggie Baby Finger Paints. These are made with organic food-based ingredients (real fruits and veggies) and are fully gluten- and dairy-free and suitable for vegans.
What Else for Babies On Board?
A tip from a person who has sailed with young babies (me) – opt for serviced dining where possible. All the restaurants provide high chairs on request. Remember it is easier to be served than to fetch food yourself from the buffets. Staff on cruise ships LOVE children, so you can expect lots of smiles and help when needed.
Looking around the shops on board Bliss, we didn’t see any baby supplies (nappies, wipes, formula etc). So either pack enough for the duration of your cruise or pre-order Huggies on board for your trip. Nappies are currently $24 for the following quantities:
50 (size 1)
42 (size 2)
36 (size 3)
31 (size 4)
27 (size 5)
20 (size 6)
Wipes are $5 for a pack of 12.
A baby carrier is an easy way to transport a young baby around the ship. Alternatively, bring a lightweight, folding buggy with you. The buffet provides ‘everything imaginable’ for weaning children; there’s yogurt and fruit that can be mashed, which is always a favourite. Many people pack baby food pouches too. Don’t forget to pack any medication, some sippy cups etc, bibs (disposable ones), and you might find an inflatable baby bath/tub useful as the cabins mainly have a shower.
Outside, Norwegian Bliss has an amazing Splash Zone for young children. We’ll talk about this in a future post.
Infants must be aged 6 months at the time of boarding; if your cruise has three or more consecutive days at sea the minimum age rises to 12 months.
Most of all, you and your baby will have an incredible time. Have fun!