Many big life events can happen between the date you book a cruise and when you step on the ship to set sail. One of those happy events can be a pregnancy. If you discover you’re pregnant after you booked your reservation, or perhaps you just like to plan ahead, you’ll likely wonder “can you go on a cruise pregnant?” The answer is generally yes, provided your doctor approves and you are not too far along in your pregnancy.
You can go on a cruise pregnant. However, women after 24 weeks are not allowed on cruise ships. And you should be aware that those pregnancy rules are actually enforced. Keep reading to learn more about cruising while pregnant!
Is It Safe To Go On A Cruise Pregnant?
Like many moms-to-be, you may dream of going on vacation to far-off lands or exotic beaches.
If a cruise is your vacation of choice, you may be wondering if it is safe to go on a cruise pregnant? In general, it is relatively safe to go on a cruise pregnant. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Every pregnancy is different, so the best way to find out if it is safe for you to go on a cruise is to visit your OB/GYN.
If you are experiencing pregnancy complications, your doctor may advise against going on a cruise. If this is the case, going on a cruise against your doctor’s recommendation can be potentially dangerous for you and your baby. When thinking about safety, it is also essential to consider the destination. Not all destinations are suitable for pregnant women.
And no, this isn’t a reference to rocky terrains or dangerous landscapes (although they are not ideal for pregnant women either). Rather, some destinations harbor communicable diseases such as Zika or malaria. Women who are pregnant can experience malaria more severely than non-pregnant women.
If malaria is contracted, pregnant women may experience pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth. For those thinking a vaccine will put you in the all-clear, this is not always the case. Some doctors may advise against taking vaccines while pregnant. Of course, this is dependent on many factors, such as the type of vaccine.
Also, depending on your itinerary, not all of the locales that you visit will necessarily have appropriate medical care in case you run into problems.
How Many Weeks Pregnant Can You Go On A Cruise?
While it is largely safe for pregnant women to go on a cruise ship, that’s not the end of the inquiry. You need to ask another important question; is there a cut-off date for pregnant women? Meaning, how many weeks pregnant can you go on a cruise? Or can you go up until you are ready to pop (and have a cruise-liner baby)?
You might be interested to learn that there is indeed a cut-off date for how many weeks pregnant someone can board a cruise liner. The cut-off point is 24 weeks. Not plus/minus 24 weeks but 24 weeks on the dot. If you have entered your 24th week of pregnancy before the cruise, you will not be permitted to board. As explained in the Royal Caribbean policy “guests who will be more than 23 weeks pregnant at any time during the cruise” will not be permitted. All major cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and Disney have similar policies.
Royal Caribbean advises guests and their physicians to keep in mind that passengers “may be at sea for several days without any immediate hospital and/or specialist back up, and that since the proposed itinerary is not within the U.S., and the availability of specialized shore side facilities can be problematic.”
As there is limited medical care on the liner and on-call, it only makes sense to restrict high-risk passengers. But how would they know how many weeks pregnant you are? Well, cruise-liners require a letter from your doctor before boarding. If you are before 24 weeks, cruise liners require letters stating that you are not at risk for pregnancy complications and that you and your baby are healthy and fit to travel.
The letter also has to calculate your due date (as calculated from your last menstrual period and ultrasound. Additionally, some liners require a second confirmation no more than two weeks before departure. However, you should always check with your cruise line about the specific rules and regulations that pertain to pregnant women.
What Happens If Someone Gives Birth On A Cruise Ship?
Pregnancy is not always smooth sailing (excuse the pun). You can get caught up in unexpected twists and turns. Premature labor is one such unexpected but not impossible turn. During a cruise, this might result in you giving birth on the ship. The doctor will inform the captain, who will then decide which course of action to take.
The captain may change course or land at the nearest port. If you or the baby are unwell, the captain may decide to enlist an air evacuation. So what happens to the baby’s citizenship? If both parents are U.S citizens, the baby will automatically be given the parent’s citizenship. However, the baby may also be eligible for dual citizenship, depending on the country.
If the baby was born while the ship was more than three nautical miles off of the coast (international waters), you might be able to apply for the country where the ship is registered. If your ship is docked in a foreign country during delivery, you may apply for citizenship for your baby there.
Can You Go On A Cruise Pregnant And Participate In Most Activities?
Just because you are pregnant does not mean you have to miss out on fun activities while pregnant. There are many available activities/ pass times that pregnant women can do on a cruise. For instance, you can spend some relaxing time in the spa by treating yourself to a much-needed massage or relaxing facial.
Or you can watch one of the cruise’s outstanding live-entertainment shows, such as a sing-a-long musical or play. Even better, you can take a dip in the pool or relax on the poolside chairs. There is no shortage of things pregnant women can do on a cruise. Make sure you check your cruise liner’s itinerary for information regarding its activities
Do I Have To Tell The Cruise Line I Am Pregnant?
As a general rule, cruise lines require that you inform them of your pregnancy and include a letter from your physician verifying that you are fit to travel as well as your estimated due date. However, if there is no pregnancy bump and you are still in the early stages, the cruise liner is unlikely to ask. If you are within the early stages of pregnancy, it is still advisable to consult with your doctor before traveling.
Why Can’t You Cruise After The 2nd Trimester?
A woman who is in her 24th week of pregnancy or more is at a higher risk of having preterm contractions. The medical care provided on board cruise liners is limited; as a result, they are not fully equipped to deal with labor/birth and any complications that may take place.
What Food Can I Eat On A Cruise Ship When Pregnant?
There are many things pregnant women can eat. However, it is best to outline what pregnant women should avoid rather than what they can eat.
Pregnant women should avoid high mercury fish, undercooked or raw fish and meats, processed meats, raw or undercooked eggs, raw sprouts, unwashed produce, and unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice.
What Shore Excursions Can I Go On?
For pregnant women, shore excursions that do not require athleticism or strain the body are generally safe. So consider booking a sight-seeing bus tour, visiting the local museum or attractions, spending a day at the beach, or a local cuisine cooking class.
Do not book the excursion if it says it’s not recommended for pregnant women. Even so, it is recommended to check with your physician what excursions are safe for you as they would know your pregnancy condition best.
What Is The Best Itinerary For A Pregnant Woman?
As each cruise line has different activities and entertainment facilities, it is challenging to determine the best itinerary for pregnant women. A general guideline is to choose an itinerary that has activities that are safe and friendly for pregnant women. Pregnant women should follow the same safety rules on board as they would on land.
As long as you are less than 24 weeks pregnant during your entire time on ship and have your doctor’s blessing, you can indeed go on a cruise pregnant. Just be sure to plan ahead for excursions and activities that make sense for you!