Royal Caribbean offers nursery services to parents of young children on most cruise ships in the fleet. The nursery is a special place for kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise, because it provides them with supervised care and interactions with other children. Likewise, parents can leverage the nursery as a means of providing some important "alone time" just for them.
Before you can leave your child in the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, here are some helpful guidelines for understanding how to reserve time for your young one.
Signing up in advance is very important
If you remember nothing else in this blog post, make sure it is this fact: your best strategy for ensuring your child will be able to spend time in the nursery is to make reservations in advance.
There is a very strict capacity in the nursery, which relates to maintaining to a staff-to-child ratio that ensures the high level of quality care can be maintained. Depending on your Royal Caribbean sailing, there may be many children onboard, so space will be limited.
Registration and reserving of time is something you want to do on embarkation day. Furthermore, be sure to reserve time well before you need it, if you have firm plans like specialty dining, shore excursions or activities.
Everyone is restricted with reservations (in the beginning)
To be as fair to everyone as possible, the first few days of your cruise will see a restriction on how much time you can reserve in the nursery. While you may know about the nursery and be proactive about signing up in advance, some parents may not know about the service or not able to get around to signing up until a bit later in the cruise.
For those reasons, Royal Caribbean limits parents to a fixed amount of hours they can reserve in advance. On a 7-night cruise, this is usually 16 hours. While this may not seem like a lot, the good news is this restriction is only in place for the first few days of the cruise.
Due to the restriction, be certain to prioritize the time you reserve to ensure you will have time for your child to be supervised when you need it the most.
If you need more time beyond the 16 hours, you can always call and see if there is extra space. Provided they have spare capacity, the nursery staff is usually quite welcoming of kids.
You can add more time later in the cruise
As mentioned earlier, there is a limit in place for the first few days of a cruise, but after those few days, reservations revert to first come, first served.
Check with the nursery staff when the time limit restriction ends. Once that point in time occurs, you can make additional reservations for your child in the nursery with no limitations (other than space, of course).
No harm in asking
Regardless of if you have a reservation and want to leave them an hour or two later, or have no reservation and want to drop off your child on a whim, it never hurts to ask.
When in doubt, give the nursery a call and politely ask about altering your plans, or if there is room for bringing your child. Provided there is capacity and the nursery is open, the staff tends to be quite accommodating.
Royal Caribbean shore excursions bypass the schedule
Did you see an intriguing shore excursion option but noticed it begins before the nursery opens? Good news, the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery will open early for guests that have a Royal Caribbean shore excursion booked.
After booking the excursion, talk to the nursery staff about options for dropping your child off, especially if the start time is prior to when the nursery is scheduled to open.