Royal Caribbean markets itself heavily to families. But apparently some families are just too much for the line – specifically, those with the littlest kids. Effective later this year, the line is banning infants under the age of six months from its ships.
The restriction, first reported over the weekend by industry-watching website Cruise Critic, is a first at the line, which until now has allowed children of any age to sail. Some other lines, such as Carnival, already have a six-months-or-over restriction on children (Carnival increased its minimum age from four months to six months just this past year).
Cruise Critic reports that while the new Royal Caribbean policy is on the line’s website, it won’t be strictly enforced until October 2008.
The new policy says infants must be six months old by the first day of the sailing in order to board. On trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Hawaii and some South America cruises, the policy is even stricter, requiring babies to be at least 12 months old by the first day of the sailing.
Cruise Critic reports that parents who try to bring a child on-board who does not meet the minimum age requirement will be denied boarding and not reimbursed for the missed sailing.
A Royal Caribbean spokesman tells Cruise Critic that the policy change comes from the cruise line’s recognition that infants have special needs and at times may require medical attention that can only be provided for at shore-based hospitals. The change comes in the wake of a headline-grabbing incident involving a baby who fell ill on a Royal Caribbean ship, but the spokesman told the site the new policy was unrelated to that incident.