A British couple who took their four-month-old child on a cruise have set the industry a dilemma: when is too young to be on board a ship?
The Moak family took their four-month old baby on a cruise – and were asked to disembark when the baby became ill.
They claim staff on the ship – ironically a Disney Line vessel which specialises in dealing with young cruisers – said the baby was “too young” to be onboard.
Jennifer Moak was on the Disney Florida to The Bahamas cruise with her husband Dan and baby as part of a 31-strong group enjoying a bucket-list style holiday for an elder family member with terminal illness.
Two days into the trip, the Moak’s baby was treated for an illness, at first assumed to be sea-sickness. During a routine check-up just hours later, the Moak family was given the news that they were to leave the ship.
“He said because of her age, she wasn’t supposed to be on the ship and that they would be — I think the word that he used was ‘terminating’ our stay on the ship,” Moak told the Naples News.
Having paid around $1,000 a night for the cruise, the family were checked into a hotel in Nassau, that the father described as a ‘fleabag motel.’ As it turned out, the baby was only suffering from wind, although a stay in a Bahamian hospital meant the Moaks were left with a $2,225 medical bill.
Just last year the minimum age of passengers on board Disney Cruises was raised from 12 weeks to six months, however the Moak family’s existing booking was honoured.
In Australia the rules aboard P&O state that children must be over the age of 12 months. The company policy is such because of the limited neo-natal facilities onboard and at ports of call.
Royal Caribbean’s policies are a little more difficult, infants must be at least 6 months old, however on transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii and select South American cruises, the child must be at least 12 months old. And any cruise that has more than 3 days at sea also requires infants to be 12 months old.
While most airlines will allow your baby to travel from two weeks of age (although they recommend you wait until 6 weeks) the question remains, would you feel comfortable taking your young child onboard a cruise ship?
With the risk of foreign disease, expensive overseas medical bills, cramped cabins, the stress of being on boat that hasn’t been built with your baby-proof designs, not to mention the disdain imposed on you by children-free couples drinking cocktails by the pool, is it worth it?