When is it too young to cruise? That’s the hot question after Disney increased the minimum age for babies travelling on its ships.
Children now need to be six months and over to sail on most Disney itineraries. That’s an increase from the previous three months age limit.
Meanwhile, the minimum age for transatlantic, Hawaii and Panama Canal itineraries will increase to one year of age.
The change is effective from 18 July 2014 for all new bookings on sailings commencing after 1 January 2015.
Guests with existing reservations to sail in 2015 with a child between three months and one year will be allowed to sail.
Disney hasn’t revealed why the change was made, but said it brings its policy in line with other cruise companies.
“This change is consistent with the age restrictions of others in the cruise industry,” the line said.
Disney was the last cruise line allowing children under six months of age to sail.
This has prompted an online debate, with some seeing it as a disadvantage and a potential loss of income for the cruise line.
“My son had been on four cruises before he was three. Anything could happen anywhere and personally, I thought it was safer to take him on a cruise,” a cruiser posted to Cruise Critic’s forum.
“Can’t believe they’ve raised the age. I was due to book a Disney cruise tomorrow, with the plan of taking a baby around four-five months old on it – missed out by one day!”
Another cruiser said: “Disney Cruise Line is giving up some revenue opportunity (albeit likely small by the number of affected cruisers who would use the nursery) by not having the family with a under six months old on board.”
Others claim six months and under is just too young for cruise ships.
“I can’t imagine cruising with a child under the age of (at least) three in the first place, but that’s just me,” one person posted.
“Seems like an awful lot of work, with all the supplies they need.”
Another forum user said it was a smart decision, because it would remove strollers from the narrow ship corridors.
“The bigger problem is for the stateroom hosts and mobility impaired guests. Pushing a wheelchair and needing to move someone’s stroller in order to get by is a real problem,” the person explained.
“I feel bad just touching their property, but my traveling partner has a right to be able to get down the hall.”
Cruise Passenger has asked Disney for further comment.
What do you think of the change and when is too young to cruise?