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Disney Cruise Line
Aboard a Disney cruise, children enjoy a story about ocean creatures in the Oceaneer Club.

Taking Your Toddler To Sea
The Straight Poop About Swim Diapers

by Linda Coffman

Cruise ships are wonderful places for family vacations, but you must understand the rules before promising your littlest sailors unlimited playtime, either in the kid’s program or the swimming pool. Nothing is sadder than the face of a toddler who isn’t allowed in the ship’s pool—even the kiddy pool—because he/she isn’t potty-trained. Even swim diapers won’t pass muster in most cases.

Cruise ships must comply with the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) regulations. Charged with the prevention of pool contamination and the resulting spread of bacteria that can cause illness after “accidents” in pools and water parks at sea, the VSP provides health and safety requirements to cruise lines, including the ban on any diapers in the pools.

The straight poop is that swim diapers are not leak-proof. They can prevent solids from escaping, but don't contain urine or diarrhea, nor do they stop seepage of infection-causing germs.

However, not all cruise ships entirely ban water play for non-potty trained youngsters. Special wading pools approved by VSP standards feature their own water and disinfection systems and heavy duty filtration units that can be “flushed out” when diaper accidents occur. Such splash zones are found on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder and Disney Magic and on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas.

About those kid’s programs, check with the cruise line for age limits—some are as low as two years of age, but most will accept only children three and older. While being toilet trained isn’t always a prerequisite for participation, only the counselors on Disney Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Lines will change diapers. In fact, on Disney Cruise Line, Flounder's Reef Nursery offers special attention and activities for infants and toddlers, providing childcare for children ages 12 weeks to 3-years old (additional charges for babysitting apply).

Cruising With Kids? This is must-have Info:
       ~ Going to sea with children... why you need a Consent Letter
       ~ Family Cruising, The Basics
- Will your family enjoy a cruise?
      ~ Do's and don'ts & what to know Before You Go  

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Photo Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line©

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