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It's funny, soon after my twins were born, I suddenly became very interested in the age policies of cruise lines. I wanted to jump right back into cruising with two little boys in tow. Their first cruise was at nine months aboard the Celebrity Zenith. I quickly zeroed in on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean as they are two of the few lines which offer private in-cabin babysitting. Disney was also on my radar (their nursery invites babes as young as 3 months) and Carnival made it on too, as they offer late-night group babysitting service for kids six months and older. It really helps, of course, if your little ones are good sleepers so they can ideally be snoozing when the sitter arrives or dozing in their strollers if dropped of at late-night group sitting. Luckily, my guys were dream sleepers.

Here's a list of the details.

Carnival (www.carnival.com)

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, Hawaii, and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 2 years old (Carnival does change diapers)
  • Minimum age for drop-off group babysitting after hours: 6 or 12 months to 8 years old (Carnival does change diapers)
  • No private babysitting offered.

Celebrity Cruises (www.celebritycruises.com)

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, transpacific, and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming and/or after-hours group babysitting: 3 years old (and completely toilet-trained)
  • Minimum age for private in-cabin babysitting: 12 months old

Costa Cruises

(www.costacruises.com)
  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, transpacific, and world cruises)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming and/or after-hours group babysitting: 3 years old (and completely toilet-trained)
  • No private babysitting offered.

Crystal Cruises (www.crystalcruises.com)

  • Minimum Age to Sail: 6 months
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • Minimum age for private in-cabin babysitting: 6 months old

Disney Cruise Line (www.disneycruise.com)

  • Minimum Age to Sail: 12 weeks
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 12 weeks
  • No private babysitting offered.

Holland America (www.hollandamerica.com)

  • Minimum Age to Sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • No private babysitting offered.

Norwegian Cruise Line (www.ncl.com>)

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 2 years old (if a diaper is soiled, parents will be beeped via loaned beepers to changed it)
  • No private babysitting offered.

Princess Cruises (www.princesscruises.com>)

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • No private babysitting offered.

Royal Caribbean (www.royalcaribbean.com)

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, Hawaii and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (on Oasis of the Seas, it's 3 months, since that ship has a nursery)
  • There is no private in-cabin babysitting.

Note: For many ships, after-hours group babysitting is typically about $6 an hour per child, while private in-cabin sitting is in the $8 to $10 per child range.