Can we go on a cruise while pregnant?
Expecting a baby is exciting news and “babymoons” are becoming more and more popular. A nice getaway allows future parents to relax and have a good time together before the big arrival.
So yes, a cruise can be a great option for a pre-baby trip. Swapping out the cooking and housekeeping for a sunny Caribbean cruise with great food and live entertainment can be a great way to rejuvenate.
There are plenty of safe and stress-free onboard events and shore excursions. Welcoming mothers-to-be, cruise passengers promote the attractiveness of spas and other relaxation activities,
Before you book a dream vacation, there are a few guidelines and preparations to consider.
Terms of Service
It’s pretty consistent across major cruise lines that expectant mothers can’t sail once they’re 24 weeks pregnant. A ship can be at sea for days without medical attention and does not have adequate prenatal or child care facilities on board, a risky situation.
If shore assistance is required, the availability and quality of health care options can differ significantly among cruise destinations. Therefore, it is suggested to review all aspects of the proposed route with a healthcare practitioner to highlight any issues and determine how best to deal with them.
Future travelers should also be aware of any transportation issues associated with their trip. Moms could generally fly later in pregnancy than cruise ships allow. Most airlines cite 36 weeks as a limit, however, a ten hour flight to Europe may not be ideal or comfortable for some.
Cruise Line Policies
In addition to the 24 week maximum, cruise lines may have other requirements. For example:
- Princess Cruise Line requires documentation stating: “All pregnant women are required to produce a doctor’s letter stating that the mother and baby are healthy, fit to travel and that the pregnancy is not high risk.
- Norwegian Cruise Line requires cruise lines to submit pregnancy details to their Access Desk along with a medical certificate.
- Royal Caribbean and Celebrity require passengers to complete a health questionnaire before departing. This must be completed before arriving at the pier and must certify that the passenger is not more than 23 weeks pregnant.
- Disney Cruise Line clarifies that a doctor’s note or a disclaimer will still not be allowed if the passenger is 24 weeks gestational.
Customers who provide false information about their pregnancy status can lose their cruise fare on top of being denied boarding, so being honest is essential.
Nausea and seasickness
It has been estimated that nausea can affect up to 75% of pregnant women, which can be exacerbated by seasickness while cruising.
It is a good idea to identify the appropriate medications for morning sickness and make sure you take enough on board. There are a variety of suggested remedies for seasickness, including ginger ale, bracelets, and medications such as Gravol. A local pharmacist can be helpful in determining what is needed.
Cruisers also have preferences and notions of the best cabin placement to alleviate movement issues. Cabins amidships and on lower decks can help, but there are no guarantees. Predicting the routes or which ports will have rough waters and high winds is not easy. As a rule, newer and larger vessels are better equipped with stabilizers which significantly reduce movements.
Shore activities and excursions
It is helpful to review ship activities and shore excursions to determine what is suitable. Rock climbing, waterslides and bumper cars may not be suitable, even in early pregnancy.
The cruise planner is a great source of information, providing details such as duration, level of activity required, and what to bring for excursions. Climate and temperature are also important. Climbing up an ancient Mayan temple in the Mexican midday heat can be too much. A long catamaran sail or ferry ride can be problematic for those who are sensitive to movement.
It is good to be informed of the planned ports. The US Department of State provides a useful and up-to-date list of travel advisories and useful safety and health information by country. Information on foreign medical systems, payments, insurance, availability of prescription drugs and tourism risks is provided.
Zika and other viruses
With the previous epidemics in the Americas, Zika is still a concern, especially for expectant parents. Zika is a virus that is mainly spread by mosquitoes and can affect a pregnant woman and a child. Usually symptoms are mild like a rash, but more serious side effects have been reported.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received a number of alerts related to Zika. The largest epidemic in the Americas has subsided, but Zika remains a potential risk in many countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
Also be aware of other viruses that are spread by mosquitoes such as dengue fever and malaria. Currently, the CDC has listed an advisory for Jamaica regarding dengue fever. Bug repellant, long sleeves and pants can be effective in preventing stings or guests may decide to stay on board and enjoy the calm of the ship.
Travel insurance and passports
Travel insurance such as medical bills, trip cancellations, and trip interruptions are always a good idea for a vacation. What is covered during pregnancy varies by provider, so carefully review the terms and conditions and ask a question if it’s unclear.
For example, a normal pregnancy is not normally considered a valid reason for cancellation, while some may cover complications such as losses resulting from unforeseen complications of the pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes.
While many cruise lines choose to travel without a passport on closed-loop cruises, a passport can be a good idea. In the event of a delay in port due to illness or a missed ship, it would be much easier to return home with a passport rather than dealing with the complexities of international travel without one.