Imagine the scenario; you have booked your cruise and since found out you are pregnant, you may well be wondering if it will be safe for you to travel. Alternatively, you may be expecting a baby and looking for a cruise to give you a relaxing break before all the hard work begins! Either way there are a few important factors to consider before making your decision.
Cruising can be a perfect holiday choice for mums to be as everything you need is all in one place, and easily accessible. Whether you fancy exploring the different ports, swimming or taking advantage of the spa, you can make your cruise as relaxing or as active as you choose, and with a wide variety of foods available 24 hours a day, cravings needn't be a concern either.
However, particularly if you are in the later stages of pregnancy, you need to bear in mind that some of the cruise lines may not allow you to travel, and furthermore, although there will be medical staff onboard, they may not have the facilities to deal with your specific needs or any complications that may occur during your pregnancy.
Each of the cruise lines have their own guidelines for pregnant passengers. These vary from 24 weeks to a more relaxed 28 weeks, with some just requesting that pregnant guests have a medical certificate stating that they are fit to travel.
Listed below are current guidelines for each cruise line;
The following cruise lines insist that passengers must not have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the time of disembarkation;
Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Ocean Village Holidays, Orient Lines, P&O, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea.
Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will not accept any passengers onboard who have entered their 27th week of pregnancy before or during the cruise.
Fred Olsen and MSC will not permit any passenger who is more than 28 weeks pregnant by the end of the cruise to sail.
Island Cruises advise that pregnant passengers should check with their doctors to find out if it is safe for them to travel. If passengers are more than 28 weeks pregnant at the time of the return flight, medical certificates are required. If passengers are more than 34 weeks pregnant at the time of their return flight they will not be able to travel.
Finally Thomson recommend that pregnant passengers who are less than 12 weeks pregnant should seek medical advice prior to travel, and require a medical certificate to confirm fitness to travel for any guests who are more than 28 weeks pregnant.
The above information should be used as a guide, and it is advised that you contact the cruise lines prior to booking in case of any changes to their policies. The majority of the cruise lines will require a medical certificate to confirm you are in a fit state to travel, even if you are within their guideline dates.
So that is the cruise guidelines, but what about the flights? If you are considering a fly cruise, you will also need to double check the airlines policy.
As a general rule, pregnant women are allowed to fly up to and including their 36th week, providing the pregnancy has been straightforward. International air transport association (IATA) guidelines state that pregnant women are allowed to fly in weeks 36 to 38 if the flying time does not exceed four hours.
However, many airlines will not carry pregnant women after 36 weeks so it is important to check with each individual airline before travel.
So now you know whether or not you're able to cruise, all that's left to worry about is how to deal with the combination of morning and sea sickness!