USA TODAY published an article today entitled "Baby on board: Best cruise ships for infants, toddlers."
Like most USA TODAY articles, it was mostly a "puff piece," trying hard to praise all of the cruise lines while writing nothing provocative or controversial.
The article picked four Disney cruise ships, three Royal Caribbean ships, two Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships and one ship from Cunard.
The factors for being the best were not identified. The article mentioned things like providing baby formula, diapers, organic baby food, cribs, high chairs, booster seats and strollers.
But are these really the issues that parents of minors should be worried about?
The articles doesn't mention serious issues that parents should be concerned with - like minors drowning in swimming pools without lifeguards or little kids being molested by predator crew members or perverted passengers.
Swimming Pools Without Lifeguards:
Disney is the only cruise line that assigns lifeguards to all of its cruise ship pools. It took this step only after a six year child slipped under the water and is now severely brain injured.
NCL and Royal Caribbean haven't bothered to employ lifeguards to protect little kids in and around the cruise ship pools even though several minors have drowned or been seriously injured in pools without lifeguards.
The USA TODAY article picked the NCL Breakaway as one the best cruise ships for minors but two children were pulled from a swimming pool on this cruise ship by other passengers just last February. One child is dead.
The article also selected a Royal Caribbean ship too, but last month a child nearly drowned on the Independence of the Seas.
If you are worried about the potential that your little kid could drown in the ship's pools, Disney is the only cruise line that I would recommend.
Sexual Perverts and Predators:
Minors including toddlers have been sexually abused on cruise ships. Take a minute and read:
Royal Caribbean is hardly the only cruise line with this problem. You can search this site and read of minors being victimized on cruise ships operated by Disney, Celebrity, and the Carnival brands. Yes, even cruise ship baby-sitters have been accused of molesting minors.
The article mentions "play zones" or "kid zones" on cruise ships. Before you leave your minor kid in one of these places, do your homework. Don't assume all of the employees have been carefully vetted.
Child pornography is also a problem on cruise ships. There are frequent arrests by custom officials of crew members whose iPhones and laptops are loaded with hundreds/thousands of photos and videos of child pornography. You can read our many articles about this problem here.
Have a Healthy Skepticism of Paradise:
Don't trust best-cruise-ships-for-kids articles written by cruise fans and travel writers. They are often given free cruises and other perks. They will go out of their way to avoid embarrassing the cruise lines. They do the public, who doesn't know any better, a disservice. Read other sources of information. Check around. Educate yourself as a parent before you take your child unwittingly into danger. And once you're on the cruise ship, keep your eyes on your kids at all times.
Photo Credit: Frommers