Taking a cruise whilst pregnant can be a great idea. Many women choose to take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the child-free time before their baby arrives. So-called ‘babymoons’ are very popular, and a cruise can be one of the most stress-free ways to travel.

See our frequently asked questions below to help guide you on what to expect when cruising while pregnant.

Can I go on a cruise while pregnant?

Yes! Most cruise lines allow women on-board until their 24th week of pregnancy. This means that you must be less than 24 weeks pregnant at the end of the cruise.

You must inform the cruise line that you are pregnant before you travel and they will let you know if any documentation is required, such as a doctor’s letter stating that you are fit to travel. In any case, it’s always worth bringing some documentation which shows the estimated due date, to prove that you are less than 24 weeks into your pregnancy.

What if I booked before I knew I was pregnant?

With people booking cruises further and further in advance, often more than 18-months before the sailing date, more people are asking what happens if they discover that they are pregnant after booking a cruise?

In most cases, the cruise line will allow you to cancel the cruise and receive a credit which you can use to either bring your cruise forward to earlier in your pregnancy, or to book another cruise after your baby is born.

The minimum age for a baby to sail with most cruise lines is six months, rising to 12 months for certain destinations.

Woman babysitting toddler - P&O Cruises

When is the best time to cruise during pregnancy?

If it’s your first pregnancy, a cruise can be your last chance to enjoy an exotic holiday without children. The period between 12 and 24 weeks is considered by many to be a good time to travel, as most people are over the morning sickness and tiredness of early pregnancy, yet not limited by flying or sailing restrictions.

What about drinks packages?

Many cruisers book a drinks package to upgrade your sailing from full-board to all-inclusive. When this happens, it’s a requirement that each passenger in the cabin has a drinks package.

Aside from not being able to drink alcohol, pregnant women are also advised to limit their intake of caffeine such as tea, coffee, and fizzy drinks.

With this in mind, it’s unlikely that a drinks package will provide good value for money. Instead, pregnant cruisers and the passengers sharing their cabin will be wise to pay for their individual drinks. Although it can be frustrating to watch your other half sinking mojitos by the pool, you’ll likely be impressed by the mocktail menu, and non-alcoholic beers also feature in many cruise ship bars.

MSC Yacht Club

What cruise ship activities are on-board for pregnant women?

Some cruise ship activities are not suitable for pregnant women. These include most waterslides, the FlowRider surf simulators, zip lines, trampolines, ice skating, and bumper cars.

However, there’s still plenty that you can enjoy such as swimming, mini golf, using the fitness centre, deck games (such as shuffleboard, quoits and giant chess), enrichment classes (such as painting, dancing and lectures with guest speakers).

Hot tubs are generally not recommended for pregnant women, although some of the hot tubs you’ll find on board are only slightly warmer than the swimming pool, so it’s up to you if you want to dip your toes in.

What about smoking on-board?

Smoking on-board cruise ships is limited to designated areas, so you don’t have to worry about second-hand smoke in restaurants, bars or nightclubs. However, one exception to this can often be the casino.

On many cruise ships, smoking is permitted in the casino and there is sometimes quite a smoky atmosphere. Some cruise lines do have non-smoking areas of the casino though, and Princess Cruises has dedicated non-smoking nights, beginning at 6pm on certain sailings.

Woman on the balcony

Should I avoid sunbathing on my cruise while pregnant?

Your skin can be more sensitive during pregnancy and it can be easy to burn in the sun. You’ll also want to avoid overheating.

Luckily, you’ll find plenty of shaded areas to relax on-board your cruise ship. And don’t forget to reapply a high-factor sun cream regularly!

What should I remember to pack for my cruise while pregnant?

It’s important to pack carefully, particularly including some floaty clothes and stretchy maternity wear.

Although you may still fit in normal clothes during the first trimester, after a week of indulgence in the buffet, that can quickly change and you may be more comfortable in elasticated trousers! Comfortable shoes are also a must, as heat can cause your feet to swell and walking puts pressure on your joints. We advise investing in some supportive trainers or sandals to wear during excursions and your feet will thank you.

You may also want to consider leaving the high heels at home. During rough seas, balance can take more focus than usual, and you’ll certainly want to avoid taking a tumble whilst tottering in stilettos.

Open suitcase - packing for holiday

Where are the destinations to avoid visiting while pregnant?

Pregnant women should take care to avoid travelling to certain areas of the world which may be affected by the Zika virus. This virus is spread by mosquitos and can cause serious birth defects. Before booking travel, pregnant women and those considering pregnancy should check the latest Zika virus risk for their destination on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/zika-virus-country-specific-risk

Is there medical care on-board?

Yes, it’s always possible to see a doctor on-board a cruise ship. However, the fees for this can be quite hefty. Be sure to pack any medication you might need such as paracetamol, heartburn relief and plasters as these can also be expensive to purchase on-board.

Booking your cruise

If you have any further questions, please ask in the comments below or give us a call on 0808 1234 118. Our team of expert cruise concierge will be happy to help with every part of the planning and booking your next cruise holiday.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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