Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination

The Carnival Imagination is one of Carnival’s many Fantasy class cruise ships, capable of holding over two thousand passengers in over a thousand cabins. The ship was built in Finland, sent out on the first of July in 1995.
Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination sternThis ship takes passengers on short, three to four day long cruises from Long Beach California to Ensenada Mexico, stopping in Catalina Island on the way. The journey is slow paced yet short, with few activities and a simple itinerary, perfect for kids with autism. It is also a relatively affordable way to experience the Southern California and Mexico coast in the luxury of a cruise ship. We enjoyed our stay on the Imagination, especially our cabin.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination pool

Ship Decor

We found the ship decor to be a bit flashy, but we enjoyed the overhead giant Coppola that allowed natural light to stream into the ship. All the colors were bright and shiny, reminiscent of Vegas. In the central area of the ship, we saw glass elevators, grand staircases, and large crystal chandeliers.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination decorOur Cabin

The cruise cabin on our trip consisted of the basic amenities. The decor featured predominantly orange colors, particularly on the bed sheets, the floor, and the curtain over our window. We had a small safe for our devices, an appreciated security feature. The room itself was well lit, especially for a cruise cabin. Our room featured carpeting, an issue for those with allergies but perfect to muffle any noise for passengers below. We also could watch a small overhead TV in one corner of the room with plenty of great channels for kids.
Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination beds

Guests can book the room either with two single beds or with the singles pushed together to make one queen. We opted for the two singles, and the staff placed both beds to maximize cabin space. We found the temperature control right over the bed, meaning no one needed to get up to adjust the A/C. The room had few outlets, though we did find one by the bed. We had a decent amount of closet space, but one area was blocked by a ladder used for the bunk bed. We could also fit our suitcases under our beds.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination cabin

Though we never used the service, we had the option to call for room service; an option offered on all Carnival cruises.The room service menu offered some free choices as well as some dishes that could be purchased for a couple of bucks.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination electronic

Our Bathroom

Our bathroom also featured the essentials. The room was as well lit as the rest of the cabin, and the blue linoleum floor wasn’t slippery. The bathroom boasted the cabin’s second outlet, perfect for hair dryers or any other electronic devices. We had a little shelf room as well as a place to hang a swim suit, a welcome touch. The shower itself boasted a head that wasn’t easy to use, which would be a bonus. It would be difficult if not impossible for a small child to turn it on high and get scalded.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination corridor

Dining Options

Compared to the newer Carnival ships, the Carnival Imagination doesn’t offer as many options. Like all Carnival ships, we could enjoy the food offerings on the Lido deck. These options included The Blue Iguana, serving fresh Mexican fare, and Guy’s Burger Joint, serving burgers with delicious toppings.

 

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination pin

The ship also boasted traditional dining halls were passengers could dine either at set times or anytime during specific hours. The sit-down menu changed daily and offered many choices including gluten free and vegan.

Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination eat

Activities

Though the Carnival Imagination is a smaller vessel, we could still enjoy a plethora of activities for patrons of all ages. The ship offered outdoor pools with water slides, mini golf, basketball, ping pong, and shuffleboard. We also noted the ship offered several contests and shows. We chose to attend the family-oriented shows and found the Hasbro Game Show delightful. Music lovers will enjoy the high seas Karaoke and Music Trivia Party.
Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination ship

Cost

Pricing starts at $179 per person when traveling off season. Certain events, such as cruises featuring a live performance from a celebrity, will cause a significant increase in price. Carnival Imagination also offers a cruise line option that skips a stop in Catalina all together, decrease the cruise time to two days. However, this cruise option is on average slightly more expensive, starting at $189 per person and typically costing significantly more.
Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination games

Autism Travel Tips:

  • We experienced many different odors throughout our deck four corridors, mainly smoke cooking. Parents of children with smell sensitivities should keep this in mind.
  • The cruise featured wifi, but it was somewhat slow, which could be frustrating.
  • We did felt the movement and the swaying of the ship. Parents of children who are seasick easily should bring medication to help prevent seasickness.
  • The swaying of the ship can be felt strongly in the cabins facing the ocean. Parents should consider not booking an outside cabin, especially if they or their child is prone to motion sickness.
  • Our Ocean View Cabin Aboard Carnival Imagination court
  • Parents of children with noise sensitivities should book a cabin on deck seven or above to avoid engine noise.
  • The Carnival Imagination offers only a few balcony rooms. Parents may want to consider avoiding booking a balcony room to ensure the safety of kids with autism.
  • Most room types on the Carnival Imagination come in Accessible versions. Parents who might need this option should make sure they request it when booking.
  • Some of Carnival Imagination’s cruise itineraries go directly from Long Beach to Ensenada for a three-day trip. Parents might want to consider this option, especially if they are attempting traveling on a cruise for the first time with their child with autism.

 

 

Celebrating Dr. Seuss at Sea aboard the Carnival Imagination

Celebrating Dr. Seuss at Sea aboard the Carnival Imagination pin

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess, was a man of many talents. He was a writer, artist, cartoonist, animator, and publisher who took on the “Dr. Seuss” pen name during his college years at Dartmouth and Oxford. Though he started his career as a scathing political cartoonist and illustrator for advertisements, he is best remembered today for his children’s book series, which include The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Horton Hears a Who. Suess always highlighted the important of everyone’s unique traits, and his stories have inspired kids to read and create for generations.


Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination decorated room

When we went on our last cruise aboard the Carnival Imagination, we were delighted to discover that Carnival Cruise Lines possessed the rights to use Dr. Suess’s iconic characters and imagery in their Seuss at Sea events for kids. Kids and parents can make memories with a character breakfast, an interactive storytelling activity, a character parade, and various artistic activities. This event is perfect for younger kids who love the stories of Dr. Suess and the art of reading.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination menu

 

The Character Breakfast

We enjoyed the character breakfast in the Spirit Dining Room at the back of the ship. Dining started at nine AM but families were lining up by eight thirty, and the venue was seating people half an hour early. The room for the breakfast was small, so parents should get a reservation ahead of time to guarantee a good table.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination dinning

The venue played various songs from the Suess musical. While these songs added to the ambiance, they were rather loud. Parents who require a table away from the music amplifiers should arrive early and talk to the host.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination yogurt

The decor of the dining area was detailed and whimsical, perfectly in theme for Dr. Suess. The entire eating experience was five bucks total, and the food was delicious. Kids could order from a Suess booklet many interestingly colored items and foods lifted directly from the Suess universe.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination pancakesThese items included “Moose Juice n Goose Juice,” funky colored french toast, pancakes, and waffles, and the famous Green Eggs and Ham. Many of the items were ladened with sugar, so parents should be careful and watch what their kids consume. In our opinion, the best item on the menu was the sunny side up green eggs and steak. The green eggs were delicious, well cooked, and soft. The menu also featured plenty of standard items for those who might be picky about the wacky colored foods.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination waffle

As other character breakfasts, this one too had guest appearances by Thing One and two, Sam I am and the Cat in the Hat.While the two ‘Things’ did walk around, Sam and the Cat stand in one spot and guests are expected to line up to get a selfie with them.

Character Parade and Story Reading

Kids could also enjoy the onboard character parade, walking alongside familiar Suess characters. The Suess-a-Palooza started at the Xanadu Lounge on the ship’s ninth deck at two PM. Excited passengers, staff, and various Seuss characters walked from here to the casino. Other passengers stood to side cheering. This event can be a lot of fun, especially for smaller kids, but some kids might get overwhelmed by the crowds and sounds. What is nice about this event is the fact that kids can choose to either participate in the parade or stand off to the side, able to leave at any time.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination eggs

The Story Reading took place in the Dynasty  Theater. We liked the decor, as the stage was decorated like an open tent. The concept is for fellow passengers to play read the Cat in the Hat, bringing it to life with props.The staff selects both kids and parents to play the different characters, so if you feel up to it, you can choose to volunteer. This fact makes for hilarious and memorable improv moments, especially from younger kids.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination table

Our Takeaway

All events are fantastic for families cruising with small children. It can sometimes be difficult to find something on a cruise line that will entertain kids who might not be old enough to participate in or enjoy typical cruise activities. Seuss at Sea entertains children while also encouraging reading and storytelling.Our son with autism brought up how incredible it was that Dr. Suess had this entire world of characters in his head, and compared him to Belgium’s Herge.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination things

Autism Travel Tips

  • The ship typically schedules the popular breakfast on sea days. Make sure you book it in advance.
  • If your child is noise sensitive you may want to pack earplugs or headphones. They play loud music at the breakfast on multiple loudspeakers.
  • Most tables seat eight to ten people. Should you wish to sit at a smaller table, mention it to the hostess that seats you.
  • The venue accommodates special diets. Make sure you notify the Maitre D’  the night before.
  • There is no restriction on the number of items you can order. If your kid is a picky eater you can order several items for him or her to try.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination ice

 

Our Balcony Cabin on Harmony of the Seas

Our Balcony Cabin on Harmony of the Seas pin

We recently went on a cruise to the Bahamas on one of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas inaugural sails. This vessel is the world’s largest passenger cruise ship, capable of carrying over five thousand passengers. We stayed in a balcony cabin on the sixth deck -6212 during our journey.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas room

What Makes it Family Worthy?

Royal Caribbean prides itself on the fact it is the first certified autism-friendly cruise line. The cruise line strives to make every part of the journey autism-friendly, including priority check-in, dietary accommodations, and pagers for parents. The ship offers plenty of activities offered for those with autism, including sensory friendly films.

All Youth staff also need to have a four-year degree or equivalent in education, recreation, or a related field, as well as three to five years of experience working with young children. Also, the staff receives autism-friendly training from Royal Caribbean. Therefore, parents can feel secure that their child’s needs will be met with the Youth staff.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas purple

Our Cabin

We stayed in cabin 6212 on the sixth floor mid ship. Our cabin had was slightly larger than inside cabins and had a balcony. To enter it had a magnetic surface key which we had to put it in a slot by the entrance to make the lights and air conditioning worked. Like most cruise line doors this one had a peephole with a cover, a great security feature.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas purple beds

Colors decorating the cabin consisted mostly of tans, light grays, and metallics with touches of aqua. The colors made for a modern, elegant room with a soothing vibe. The sliding door sported aqua and metallic colored thick and thin curtains that complemented the patterned carpet. The cabinets’ handles and night lights copied the pattern of the carpet. There was a wallpaper mural behind the metallic bronze headboard that added to the maritime ambiance.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas storage

The cabin could accommodate a family of two to four persons. We slept on the king sized bed while our son with autism slept on the opening sofa. Both beds turned out to be comfortable with crisp linens and fluffy pillows. The room steward made sure to close the sofa up every morning so we could use it as a seating area and open it by the evening when it was the time to sleep. There was an outlet on each side of the bed, so each person sleeping had a place to charge. We also liked the fact the air vent sat above the bed, so no air blew on us as we slept.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas bed

We found the built-in cabin closet close to the bed and liked the well- planned layout with the drawers on the bottom for easy access. The room safe was placed at eye level, so guests didn’t have to go on their hands and knees to store items.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas sofa

The cabin boasted a vanity storage area near the window that included a work area, mini-bar as well as a mirror. We were happy to discover there were several outlets where we could juice up our electronic devices. Atop the cabinets, there was a TV attached to the wall that could be moved so everyone including the person sleeping on the sofa could watch.

As we soon discovered the balcony was the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the morning cup of java or glass of wine in the afternoon. Though not recommended for families with younger kids balcony cabins have several advantages. Unlike inside cabins this cabin was swell aired and provided us with extra room to sit and relax. Families with autism considering a room like ours should know the lock mechanism consisted of a handle that was not easy to lift even for adults. Furthermore, we liked how the lock was placed high up so younger kids would have a hard time reaching it.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas balcony

Our  Cabin Bathroom

We found the door to the bathroom on the left as we entered.
The bathroom decorated in various hues of browns had tan flooring and light colored walls. The well-lit bathroom had a modern square white sink with a mosaic backsplash.

We enjoyed the curved glass enclosed shower that boasted a handheld showerhead and grab-bar. Though we thought that the step down to get in and out of the bathroom was a good idea we thought we’d mention it, so others will be careful when walking in and out to make sure they don’t trip.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas bathroom

Completing the bathroom comfort were the dark wooden shelves on each side of the sink as well as underneath it to hold the fluffy towels and our cosmetics.

Our Cabin on Harmony of the Seas mirror

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Even though the balconies on Harmony are secure, we still suggest getting a room without a balcony. Some interior rooms have virtual balconies which provide real-time ocean views.
  • Avoid getting a room facing or near the Boardwalk. These areas are often busy and noisy at all times of the day.
  • Those who need accommodations should contact Harmony’s access department while booking.
  • The ship does allow service animals.
  • Families with allergies should seek a hypoallergenic room before booking.
  • Some of the rooms are designed to be wheelchair accessible.

 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas pin

Harmony of the Seas of the Royal Caribbean International is the world’s largest passenger ship at 226,963 GT. The ship carries over two thousand rooms and can house over five thousand guests. We were lucky to be hosted on one of Harmony’s inaugural voyages as part of Royal Caribbean’s advisory committee for autism travel.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas head

Embarkation

On our two nights trip to the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale, we were accompanied by media people, others on the advisory committee, and travel agents. Embarkation was speedy. We encountered a small line when we got there because we were originally scheduled to arrive at 2 PM but decided to come earlier. Royal Caribbean prides itself on assisting families with autism, and a staff member did walk us through the embarkation process.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas wall

Ship Decor

The general décor of the ship was modern and elegant. While other ships typically have more flashy decorations, the Harmony of the Seas ambiance was more subdued with a few touches of color. Visitors will see many of the brighter bits in the Boardwalk and pool areas while the Central Park and Promenade are much more conservative.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas legs

We liked the fact that many parts of the ship are either completely open to the air or partially, providing many public areas with plenty of natural light. 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas skeeball

Activities

This ship is part of the cruise line’s Oasis-class fleet and has family friendly features that the Royal Caribbean has developed in the last two years like the Sports Zone and different neighborhoods.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas car

The Boardwalk area is all about fun. Visitors can enjoy several stores and eateries.For amusement, the Boardwalk has plenty for kids, such as a hand-carved wooden carousel, two wall climbing areas, and The Ultimate Abyss. In the Ultimate Abyss, people slide through a ten-story high purple tube on a cushion from the top deck all the way to the sixth.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas window

There is also an Aquatheater with afternoon and night performances of a Cirque du Soleil-like show aimed to wow all ages. Our son with autism loved the various activities as well as the green rocking chairs where he could sit back and relax.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas gold

The Central Park area on the eighth deck boasted more adult venues. There is no real entertainment in Central Park, but the area houses several specialty restaurants. Like its NYC namesake, this relaxing garden features live trees and bushes, with fresh plants brought every few weeks on the ship. One can hear bird sounds, and not all of these are artificial. Real birds often ride in the ship’s Central Park between destinations.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas food

Similar to its sister ships, the Harmony of the Seas features the Royal Promenade with Sorrento’s pizza, a coffee shop/sandwich area along with several upscale shopping stores. These stores include brands like Le Vian, Citizen, Chanel, and Michale Kors. Visitors can enjoy “duty-free” shopping, meaning that these items are tax-free as long as the goods are purchased out of the country. 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas carousel

The ship also has a huge Sports Zone on the top decks. For guests who love swimming, there are several indoor and outdoor pools with two FlowRider areas. Avid outdoor fans should try the rock climbing, zip lining, ping pong, basketball, mini golf and ice-skating.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas fun

 

The ship also had several interesting artistic pieces displayed in its public areas. One of these was a beautiful mirror head statue, called “Head” with interlocking pieces that continuously moved to change its face. Artist David Cerny designed this art piece for the Royal Promenade.
The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas view

Dining Options

When we ate at the Windjammer Buffet, we noted several significant changes. Appearance wise, The Windjammer now featured more modernized and upscale decor. The buffet is based around the concept of an open fresh market, displaying the food for patrons. They offer a wide variety of buffet items as well as freshly baked goods.We appreciated the fact that the staff required guests to wash their hands before entering thus helping minimize norovirus cases onboard.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas salt

The Boardwalk included some of our son’s favorite spots, such as Johnny Rockets with its burgers, Sabor which makes terrific fresh guacamole, and the not to be missed complimentary Boardwalk Doghouse with delicious hot dogs. 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas food

 

Central Park featured plenty of high-end restaurants, such as 150 Central Park, Jamie’s Italian, Chops Grill, and Izumi. The area encompassed Park Cafe where guests can have a fresh salad or sandwich made in front of them. 150 Central Park is a posh restaurant with a seasonal menu that is not conducive for little kids. We dined in the first one aboard Allure of the Seas back in 2011 for Thanksgiving and had a great time.Our kids still remember the different flavored salts, from simple to spicy to fragrant. 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas chair

And speaking of an incredible experience, parents can take a night out and go to Wonderland on deck eleven. The entire restaurant emphasizes the concept of surprise. Guests enter through a tunnel and receive a piece of paper and a brush. The menu appears when patrons take the brush and wet the paper. The food is categorized based on themes, such as Sun, Ice, Fire, Sea, and Earth.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas wonderland

Finally, topping the cruise experience guests should check out the bionic bar where robots mix drinks. Alcohol bottles hang from the ceiling as the robot arms mix the drinks ordered by guests on an iPad.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas robot

Shows and Attractions

The Harmony showcased several parades with the Dreamworks characters. During our sailing, the Harmony had its Holiday Parade, an event where they celebrate every holiday at the same time.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas stage

Families can also enjoy Grease the Musical. This musical includes all songs from both the seventies hit Broadway show as well as the movie.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas ice

Studio B, the ice skating rink, hosted 1887 a Journey in Time. This story is set in Paris and follows Juliet and her time traveling companion Tempus discovering the wonders of the world.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas irish

The Aquatheater on the Boardwalk  showed the Fine Line Aquashow, which displays acrobatics and extreme sports athletes in immersive 360 degrees.As it was in the nighttime and the theater is open to the elements we left the show early when our son with autism said he was cold.

Escape the Rubicon, an escape room for which guests need to pay in advance was a great hit with our son. Groups of up to twelve get transported to “another time” and need to solve the puzzle to break out in sixty minutes.
Originally we booked it for 5 PM, but our son forgot all about it and showed up an hour late. He almost didnt get in but a sweet young gal galantly offered him her spot and averted what could have potentially been a meltdown.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas night

Kids Clubs

The Harmony of the Seas offers several clubs for children and teens of various ages. The cruise line divides children into Aquanauts (3-5 years), Explorers (6-8 years) and Voyagers (9-11 years). Each group partakes in different age appropriate activities, and all kids can visit the Adventure Science area and Imagination Studio. Teens get divided into age 12-14 and age 15-17, and most of these spaces revolve around video games and socializing.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas club

We checked out the teen club, shown around by Victoria, an enthusiastic staff member.
The ‘Living Room’ is comprised of a large room divided into smaller spaces with various seating arrangements.There are plenty of gaming options such as PS4, XBOX 360, XBOX One, WII, and other video games. There’s also board games, card games, and arts and crafts.

Furthermore we spoted a a place to dance and even a mini buffet with sandwiches and a beverage station that makes virgin drinks.

 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas chair
It is important for parents to know that this is not a place where kids sign in and out.

Teens can move independently through the club from ten in the morning to two in the morning. Also, no parents are allowed to be in this room unless they have special needs.Although the staff is eager to help those with special needs, this is not a one on one program.

 

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas stairs

A point to note is that the ship’s WIFI is fantastic, so relatives can call or message kids at any point if they need to stay in contact.

The Autism Friendly Harmony of the Seas pose

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should book any activities online to avoid disappointment or lines.
  • At shows, parents should request seating close to the exit in case kids get restless.
  • Parents should introduce their children to Grease songs ahead of time so they can enjoy themselves at the show.
  • Families should try to book activities like the Abyss either when they first open or late in the afternoon or evening. Also, they should try to schedule these on days in port when there are fewer people if these activities are open.
  • Those who want to try specialty dining should go on the day of embarkation when it is less crowded, and the dress code is flexible.
  • The Boardwalk is always lively, and families can always leave if they feel overwhelmed. However, they should not book a room facing this area as it is busy and noisy.
  • Each neighborhood features several Purell stations for keeping hands clean.
  • The ship does have a mandatory muster drill with some physical exertion, which includes walking up stairs, in Studio B. Those who can’t participate in some parts of the muster drill need to contact the special needs department ahead of time. Parents of kids with noise sensitivities should bring ear plug as the muster drill includes seven horn blows.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism pin

Traveling parents of children with autism often have many concerns over cruising. However, many common concerns are either unfounded or easily remedied. Here are some cruising concerns we frequently hear about and how families can navigate them and enjoy cruising.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism cake

 

Cabin is too Small for my Child

The average inside cabins encompass about 160 square feet, so it is no surprise that they can feel a bit claustrophobic. However, there are options on the bigger and more modern ships for larger family style cabins or two connecting inside cabins. These options provide much more space for families.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism movie

Balcony cabins aren’t recommended for most special needs families due to safety reasons, especially for younger kids with autism who don’t have an understanding of danger.

My Kids is a Picky Eater and on a Special Diet

Nowadays cruise lines do a great job of accommodating everybody’s needs. The dining areas now frequently offer gluten-free and low-salt items. Most restaurants offer vegan items as well. Parents can sometimes request a particular dish, especially in the main dining room at night.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism dining

Ships are Too Crowded

Many times we hear that people don’t like the big ships, especially the larger ones that have 4000 people on them. However, parents should remember that 4000 people are never in the same place at once. People do different activities in different parts of the ship, and since the ship is large, there are many activities spread out in various areas.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism ship

Parents of children with autism can request accommodations during boarding or disembarkation. That way, families won’t ever have to face the crowds. There are quiet areas and even serenity decks on some ships so finding a quiet or uncrowded area is as easy as asking a cruise director or purser for suggestions.

We Might Hear Nasty Remarks

All parents of kids with autism face nasty comments at a particular point in their lives. Our best advice would be for parents to ignore them. If they are rude or even insulting, then there’s not much to say to the offending person except to either just ignore what they said, move to another area or perhaps pass out informational cards on autism.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism pool

If somebody asks questions, this would be a great opportunity for parents to educate others about autism. Such a situation has the potential to be a great thing because parents can raise autism awareness and help the autism community.

Activities are Unsuitable

On older ships, this used to be a problem because all the events meant either coloring in the kids club or sitting drinking a beer and playing bingo or trivia. That is no longer the case nowadays as the ships are filled with activities. On Norwegian cruise line, kids can enjoy a rope course. There are shows and parties for everyone in the family to enjoy. Parents can take their children to classes on cupcake decorating, dancing, cooking, photography, or computer programming.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism limes

As an example, RCCL recently teamed with DreamWorks and NCL with Nickelodeon. Therefore, there are now character breakfasts, parades, and other themed activities.

If some things aren’t comfortable for them, kids can still either use the pool or watch TV. A lot of the cruise lines show kids movies at the pool or kids clubs. Some even have theaters. Of course, if all else fails, most of the modern ships have WiFi. A lot of the new ships also have Nintendo and other electronic games. Whenever parents come on board, they can just communicate their needs to the activities manager or the youth director.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism sushi

Cruise Ships are Dangerous for Our Child

Once in a while, we hear from parents concerned about safety on ships. These are colossal ships, especially the newer ones with 4000 people.

First, parents should not get a balcony cabin. As romantic as it sounds, unless the kid knows not to lean on ledges or overboard then parents much better off in an inside cabin.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism carousel

Parents should bear in mind that the pools on the cruise ships do not have lifeguards. Parents of children who wander off should choose a cabin away from pools, places with water, and elevators.

Cruise ships don’t have supervision except for a few safety officers. Parents should go to them if their child goes missing. They have procedures and can start looking for a lost child immediately.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism

We Won’t be Relaxed

Most of us want to go on vacation and relax. However, parents of children with autism might worry they will have to be hyper vigilant at all times. Kids will likely be excited to be on the cruise ship and maybe want to explore. Meanwhile, parents will want to get a massage or at least sit by the pool.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism flow

Parents should think of either teaming up with another family member to help watch the kids or bring a caregiver. They could even team up with several other parents of children with autism and take turns, especially during the activities.

Cruises are too Expensive

Pricing is a factor for many people going on cruises, especially the modern crew ships with the endless activities. Families should seek bargains at every opportunity.

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism drill

We recommend traveling off-season for many reasons. There are fewer guests on board and families will get more personalized attention. The silver lining to going off-season is the fact that the prices can be almost 50% off compared to the summers or holidays.

Cruises are too Long

The average cruise is seven days for most first timers. Parents of children who react adversely to changes might want to consider a shorter journey. These shorter cruises of three to five days can be hard to find, but they do exist. We recommend starting with these to get children acclimated to cruising. Then if they enjoy themselves, parents can always book a longer cruise later.cruises of three to five days can be hard to find, but they do exist. We recommend starting with these to get children acclimated to cruising. Then if they enjoy themselves, parents can always book a longer cruise later.

 

 

Common Cruising Misconceptions for Parents of Kids with Autism arcade

Have you taken a cruise with your special needs kid? What was your experience?

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy

 

 

 

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy pin

Cruise ship cabins are notoriously small on average. However, they are built to house families of three-four members for a couple of days in relative comfort. Parents should try to make the best of the limited space and accommodations by packing well and by organizing the space in such a way that they can find things or don’t misplace anything. Based on our decade of travel, here are some tips to help families make the space more manageable.
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Before boarding   

Choose small luggage 

Parents should always travel with small to medium suitcases that fit comfortably under the beds. Travelers will regret packing a giant 30-inch bag that takes up limited and valuable cabin space.

Pack a power cord

Most cabins have a limited number of power outlets. Travelers should bring either an outlet splitter or extension cord to charge devices, especially at nighttime.

 

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy yellow

 

Bring a nightlight

Families should bring a good night light since most inside cabins lack good lighting. Especially when it is dark at night people can trip and fall on their way to the bathroom. Book reading lights or small flashlights can be very helpful as well. With these portable light sources, if someone needs to get up for a bathroom break during the night they don’t disturb everyone else with overhead light.

Tips for First Time Families Cruising with Autism quad

Use Magnets and post its

Cruise ship cabin walls are a useful spot to organize the multitude of papers that one will acquire while on board. These documents include shore excursion info, daily itineraries, and party invitations. Sticking these papers near the desk/vanity area with magnets or clips will free up valuable table surface space.

Remember the air freshener

Cabins don’t get a lot of air circulation, and if someone in the family is sensitive to smells, this could prove stressful. Parents should bring along a naturally scented freshener or some essential oils to diffuse on a light bulb. Lavender or peppermint are often pleasing and calming choices for many people.

 

Our Tips for a Family's First Time Cruising bed

Label everything

Families should pack everything in plastic bags and label everybody’s belongings accordingly with a different colored  Tape. This will help everyone know exactly which items to unpack and what to put where.

While onboard

Rearrange furniture

Passengers shouldn’t hesitate to ask the cabin steward to help rearrange the furniture in the cabin if necessary. The best layout that leaves the most space is splitting the king size bed into two singles to create a pathway between the beds.

 

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy sofa

 

Designate a spot for everything

Parents should designate a specific area for each member of the family to use in the cabin. This system will allow everybody to know exactly where their stuff is and where to find it. Moreover, it will prove beneficial especially during the mornings when four people need to get dressed all at once.
One can also designate a small area on the table or vanity in the room for a electronics. Parents should make sure nobody puts any beverages next to the electronics, so they don’t get damaged from accidental spills.

Use the cooler for food

Parents should ask the cabin steward to empty out the minibar. Then the family can use it for food and drink items instead of putting them on the table to occupy space.

 

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy vitual

Keep everything organized

Parents should bring their own small fabric shower organizer, especially if the family uses different medicated shampoos and soaps. Most inside cabins only have one shelf in the shower, and there isn’t that much space to put everything.

Also, traveling families should either bring trash bags or ask for trash bags from the cabin steward to put dirty clothes in a neat pile, so they’re not all over the cabin. We advise designating a garbage bag with dirty clothes for each person because then parents can either repack using this same system and take them home or give them to the cabin steward to wash. Either way, everyone will know which item belongs to which person.

Furthermore, putting all of the room keys on lanyards and hanging by the front door at all times is helpful.This way no one wastes valuable vacation time searching the entire cabin every time they leave.

 

Twelve Tips for Keeping a Cruise Cabin Tidy suiye

Clear the room 

For those who decide to use room service at any point, the best thing to do is to eat and drink whatever was ordered and quickly put out the empty cups and plates, so the items don’t occupy space on tables or floors.

Keep floor and closet clutter free

Everyone should keep everything off the floor as much as possible so nobody trips and falls.Since closet space is tight, one can repack the dirty clothes into plastic bags and put them in the suitcases after wearing them. That will take less closet space and on the last day everyone will have much less to pack.

With these “inside” tips you will find cruising in your “inside” cabin to be a breeze. What are your tips?

 

 

 

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism pin

For parents of children with autism or other special needs, there is more to planning a cruise than making reservations. Booking is only the first step for families to ensure their needs are met. Here are eight cruise line accommodations parents should consider requesting.

Eight Cruiseline Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism ship

Boarding

The port is often noisy and chaotic with hundreds of people waiting to board. It is best for parents of children with autism to request pre-boarding ahead of time. However, for families who don’t, the cruise line personnel will still be there to help upon arrival.

Parents should ask a company representative to help their family go to the VIP or suites boarding area. The service people there are savvy and experienced and have fewer passengers to deal with. If all else fails, parents can ask for wheelchair assistance.

Tips for First Time Families Cruising with Autism food

 

Dining

Those who want to dine in the dining room fast with little waiting time should ask to talk to the maître d directly, explain their situation, and ask for a particular location of table or time.
Many cruise lines have special events with loud singing in the dining room so parents might want to request a quiet corner. If the child starts feeling uncomfortable, parents can also ask the waiter for permission to take the food out to the cabin. Some eateries like O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub on the Norwegian Breakaway wrap the dishes with saran wrap for passengers.
If these options don’t work, families can always dine at the buffet or order room service.

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism show

 

Shows

Parents of children who want to attend the shows but can’t wait in long lines should know that guests line up by the door to get good seats as early as half an hour in advance.
Therefore, parents should not only book tickets in advance but call Guest Relations and let them know their need to be pre-seated. At times Guest Relations or the Activities Director can even give families VIP seats. They have even been known to bring chairs and place them in the very back of the theater away from the crowds for guests if necessary.

Sometimes, children will want to see a specific show on the cruise, but tickets will get sold out. In this situation, parents should contact Guest Services and ask to be put on a waitlist. Last minute unexpected cancellations always happen.

 

 Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess show

Stimulation Overload

For children who want to attend a show but might find it an overwhelming sensory experience, parents should ask the Access Desk or Guest Services to hold seating near the theater exit for a quick exit if need be. Furthermore, some cruise lines like NCL provide headphones to kids with autism upon request.

Eight Cruiseline Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism pool

Meet and Greet Characters

Some ships offer “meet and greet” character experiences just like theme parks do, but these events often have long lines. Parents should go to Access Desk or Customer Service on the ship and ask if they could be first in line. During our trip with Norwegian Cruise Lines, the Nickelodeon* staff in charge of the Meet and Greet was incredibly attentive and accommodating. The lady remembered our son from the morning activity and helped him on the line in the evening.

*This partnership has come to an end since our last cruise with NCL.

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism flowrider

 

Sports Activities

It is best to book activities in advance. Parents can show their child what activities are offered onboard and ask which ones he or she would like best.

If there is one that they are unsure about, it is always better to book and later cancel than not to book at all. Parents can also ask the Access office if their child can try the activity before the attraction opens to the public or right after it closes. This way the staff might be able to give the child more specialized attention and keep them safer.

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism kids

 

Kids Club Activities

Parents may want their child to enjoy the Kid’s Club, but the child might not fit into their age group.
In this case, after booking parents should let the Access desk know they wish to use the Kids Club and detail their child’s capabilities so the staff can best try to accommodate families. In some cases, the team will place older sibling with a younger acquaintance or sibling to assist the younger child.

For arts and crafts projects, parents can ask the staff member in charge if the family can take the activity to a quieter place like an empty lounge or the cabin. During one cruise, our son was given a full set of markers and two T-shirts to take back to the cabin thereby preventing a meltdown.

Eight Cruise Line Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism pool

Disembarkation

Disembarkation can often be even more chaotic than boarding. Before disembarkation, parents should arrange a no-wait time to exit the ship with Guest Services. Technically, the cruise-line can take passengers through the crew elevators and get them disembarked within minutes if necessary. In most cases, cruise line staff can schedule an early departure for families to avoid the crowds.In the case that the staff can’t accommodate the family, parents should consider staying till the last passengers get off and then leave.

Eight Cruiseline Accommodations to Request When Traveling with Autism stair

These days, many more cruise lines are aware of autism and will be happy to accommodate any family. The most important thing for parents to remember is the importance of communication. Hence, they should never be shy about explaining accurately what their child requires. Furthermore, they need to understand that Guest Services and staff are there to help and the more information they have about one’s child with autism, the easier it will be for them to help.

 

Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism

Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism pin

The very last morning of a cruise can be hectic with thousands of people trying to get off the ship.So, planning the day to be as stress-free as possible is crucial, especially for parents of children with autism. To help parents make the disembarkation process as painless as possible, we are sharing our personal tips.
Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism pool

Before Boarding

Schedule a late departure

Parents should try to schedule a post-cruise flight that leaves after midday. Such scheduling will make the disembarkation process less rushed.

If this is not possible, and parents end up having to book an early flight, they should ask to leave the ship by seven AM with the first group of passengers . This way; things will go so much more smoothly .
Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism bed

Pre-book  transfers

Disembarkation day in port is a chaotic scene with hundreds of passengers all trying to grab a cab and drive off to their next destination.
To prevent unnecessary waits and subsequent meltdowns, parents to kids  should consider pre-booking their transportation from the port ahead of time.
In the case that is not possible, they should bring electronic devices and snacks to entertain their kids.

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The day before disembarkation

Ask for assistance

Parents should ask customer service for help to schedule their disembarkation time slot as late as possible. This way, kids don’t have to wait in long lines to get off the ship.
Furthermore, to avoid misunderstandings they should make a note of the person they spoke to so they can reach them if anything goes wrong.

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Opt for self-assist disembarkation

The best system for parents with autism to disembark is to get the suitcases off the ship on their own.By using the  self-assist disembarkation system, they have access to their items at all times and aren’t separated from their belongings. Furthermore,  they won’t end up spending additional time looking for their luggage in the port’s  hall along with hundreds of fellow passengers.
The downside is they will get no staff assistance which might be difficult if they travel with a lot of luggage.

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Order breakfast from room service

Parents should check whether the cruise line they are sailing with offers room service on disembarkation day. If it does, they need to pre-order breakfast from room service and avoid the huge lines at the restaurant or buffet. Ordering room service can reduce the rush factor and allow everyone to eat leisurely while getting dressed, thereby making for a smoother transition.Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism resturant

Fill all customs and immigration forms ahead of time

Filling all the customs and immigration forms in advance can help parents avoid delaying their family and other travelers at the checkpoints. Placing all passports, customs forms, and travel tickets in a convenient holder is a good idea. Also, they should check ahead of time for rules and regulations, so they know what they are allowed to bring back as souvenirs.

We strongly recommend that parents enroll their family members in the Global Entry Program to cut down on wait times at the immigration and security checkpoints.

Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism harmony

Check the final bill

Passengers should go to customer service and solve all payment matters the day before. Since the client service counter  gets busy on the last evening at sea, it is best to settle balances or  gratuities in the early afternoon hours. The early afternoon is  an opportune time to deal with last minute returns to the ship’s stores and take possession of  pre-purchases made during the cruise.
Disembarkation Day Tips for Families with Autism pool

Assign jobs to different family members

It is recommended parents assign each adult family member to watch over a bag and a younger kid throughout the process of disembarkation. Also, all family members should carry cell phones to communicate with one another and track younger kids and luggage.

 

 

Have you gone on a cruise with your kids with autism? What are your tips for disembarkation?

 

 

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism

 

oasis pin

In October 2015, I participated in the “TBEX at Sea” conference. It was held on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship which impressively weighs in at over 225 thousand tons, and is over one thousand feet in length! She had her maiden voyage in December 2009 and still continues to provide a fantastic experience for the whole family.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism ship

The Oasis of the Sea is part of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The ship employs over 2,200 staff members on board to better serve the needs of their guests. Most trips on this vessel last about a week. These excursions depart from Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, or Orlando Florida and visit several ports in the Caribbean before bringing travelers back to the starting point.
Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism deck

Many don’t realize that this cruise ship works like a floating village. Here, passengers can enjoy sixteen decks offering entertainment in the form of swimming pools, a basketball court, climbing walls and an ice-skating rink.

After receiving a refreshing makeover in 2014, the ship looks better than ever. Cleanliness is also a high priority on this ship, with everything being quite spotless, despite the vessel’s large size.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism lounger

Fellow Travelers

A large percentage of the people traveling on this ship are family groups from North America. However, middle age couples and groups travel here as well. The Oasis of the Sea can also hold around 5,400 passengers at any given time.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism pool

Amenities

The sixteen decks on this ship feature plenty of activities to keep both kids and adults occupied on the high seas. Travelers should know that the popular attractions, such as the Flow Rider waterslides and the Windjammer Marketplace buffet, often see crowds at peak times. Therefore, cruise passengers will need to adjust their expectations accordingly and either avoid busy hours or plan to wait in line.
Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism blue

While the zip-line, ice skating rink, and rock climbing wall work as perfect pastimes for older kids, the younger crowd can easily participate in more kid-friendly activities. These include balloon making, face painting, and carousel rides. Folks over the age of sixteen might also like to chill out in one of the ten whirlpools onboard.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism catsPlaying the slots at the casino is yet another option for those over the age of twenty-one. Of course, the onboard shows can appeal to people of all ages. This ship also featured an excellent production of Andrew Loyd Weber’s Cats. However, it is crucial to reserve show tickets in advance if you don’t want to miss seeing these highlights on your voyage.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism parade

There are a variety of restaurants from sushi to Italian to American Bistro – something for everyone’s palate. Other activities include a water park, a 3D movie theater and a Dreamworks experience that children find delightful!

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with AutismAt night, the high-diving AquaTheater displays some spectacular shows. For those looking for something more on the relaxing side, the boasts spas, galleries, whirlpools and even an adults-only Solarium pool.
Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism golf

Royal Caribbean go out of their way to accommodate special needs, certified as the First Autism Friendly Cruise Line in February 2014 by Autism on the SeasTM, a tremendous honor. Also, the whole ship is wheelchair accessible. If you communicate with staff members in advance, they will go out of their way to help.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism solarium

Our Cabin

We saw a few options for cabins, and we arranged beforehand to get an inside cabin, ideally suited to families that deal with autism. Because it is situated in an inside corridor, it almost makes a labyrinth that is confusing for a child to navigate. Therefor, it is more difficult for them to get lost if they get away from you.

We stayed on deck 10 in cabin 440. The key to the door is a very handy swipe-card which conveniently fits in a pocket.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism bed
As you open the door, you can see beautiful wooden furnishings and beautiful carpeting in a wave design of turquoise, blue, green and brown. By the entrance, we saw a shelving unit, perfect spot put brochures, sunscreen, the cabin keycard and other important odds and ends. The shelving unit segues into a desk with a chair complemented by a lighted mirror so it can double as a vanity table.

The cabin is compact but not crowded with a big, opening sofa and a king-sized bed that can split according to preference. Also, the headboards are gray and tan adding to the overall décor of the cabin. Our flat-screen TV monitor by the desk could swivel making it visible from the beds and sofa, or it could recess flat back into the wall. Both nightstands boast built-in night lights.

Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism kit

The closet is spacious and can fit the luggage with plenty of hanging space and hangers provided. There are extra shelves as well as a small safe above eye level which can fit an iPad or tablet. There is a full-length mirror placed conveniently by the bathroom.

The room boasted an adequate supply of power sockets. A huge perk of this cruise liner is the super fast internet powered by VOOM which provides wifi using O3bMaritime technology. Furthermore, the occupants can freely adjust the temperature of the cabin with the convenient a/c control panel.
Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism bath

Our Bathroom

With linoleum flooring in tan, the bathroom is functional and practical. It featured wooden shelving and a narrow counter with a small sink. As we are Platinum members of Royal Caribbean, we received an amenity kit with conditioner, shampoo, shower gel, soap, and lotion.

The shower features a high plexiglass enclosure and a handheld showerhead as well as a short retractable line to hang up wet bathing suits. We discovered that the area boasted good drainage, perfect as cruise-line cabins can easily flood. Toilet paper, tissues and towels are provided and you can ask housekeeping for more as needed.
Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism jeff

Autism Travel Tips

As mentioned, parents should call the cruiseline ahead of time to request any accomodations their family may need.
The cruiseline is autism friendly and will strive to help with embarkation, disembarkation, dining and onboard activities.

slide Cruising Oasis of the Seas with Autism

Those attending the production of Cats should be aware the performers move around quite a bit on and off stage. Some kids may find this a bit scary.

Kids wishing to try ziplining or rock climbing should ask to try it at the end of the day. At that time, the crowds lessen for more customized attention.

 

Thirty Tips for Newbie Cruisers with Autism

For anyone considering or already booked on a first-time cruise, here are thirty useful tips to help you get the most out of your cruise experience!

 


Before You Board

  • Before you board, be sure to get travel insurance.
    Although there is a doctor on board, they do not take Medicare or other private insurance, so without travel insurance, you would still have to pay for any unforeseen services.
    Check ahead of time what your travel insurance covers in case of medical emergencies related to autism.
  • You should pre-book your reservations for the spa, specialty restaurants and shore excursions you have your heart set on online.
    Once you have everything squared away, you’re ready to go!
  • Sign up for CruiseCritic’s roll call for your sailing to meet fellow passengers.
  • Notify the cruise line of any accommodations you and your family need.

When You Board

  • The cruise line hosts a Sail Away party that is lots of fun!
    At the start of your vacation, it’s an excellent way to meet others before you unpack and get together with friends and family.
  • The first day is essential for getting oriented and planning ahead, choosing activities you would like to do during the trip.
    Register for activities like the character breakfast, ice skating, Flowrider, cupcake decorating as soon as you get on board since there are also some discounts you might be able to benefit from if you sign up early and also some activities will fill up fast.
  • Head on to guest services and make sure that they are aware of your family’s special needs status.
  • Don’t forget to disable your kids’ card from charging in the stores, arcade and other venues. If you are afraid, they will make charges without your permission.

Tips for Newbie Cruisers with Autism chess

Aboard the Ship

Once you have gotten settled, there are all kinds of activities to do aboard the boat.
Make sure you check the daily cruise newsletter for announcements and information; since there is so much to do aboard, finding something for everyone is quite easy.

Shopping

  • Be a savvy consumer and get acquainted with jewelry and electronics prices before you board the ship to avoid overpaying. Remember, whatever you buy will be harder to fix overseas, and there are no returns.
  • The cosmetic store sells makeup (if you have not restocked your makeup in a while) and offers a free makeover, which would be perfect for tween and teen girls.
  • Careful with the duty-free items; check allowed quantities first and know you cannot use the alcohol during the trip. Only the last night (hint, hint).
  • On formal nights, they hold a $10 item sale where you can get fake jewelry and accessories that are perfect for the younger crowd.
  • Wait for the last day to purchase the ship logo store  T-shirts since some will go on sale  2-for-$20.

 

Entertainment and Sports

  • Involve your child in the ship’s activities by having him or her visit any venue first and ‘test the waters’.
    • On board, ships have an entire gym, bikes, boxing arenas, rope and rock climbing, paid yoga and pilates classes, pools for lap swimming, water polo, soccer, and volleyball; so there is always plenty to do.
      If your kid wishes to try independent activities like rock climbing, ice skating or the FlowRider ask the coordinator if you can arrive either ten minutes before the official start or after the action ends when there are fewer people, and your child can get more individualized attention.
    • Cruise lines now offer classes, so this may be a good opportunity to try something new: like scuba diving, cooking, cupcake decorating, or even scrapbooking and pottery making.Make sure you talk to the person in charge ahead of time so they can accommodate your kid.
  • In the case, you choose to let your child wander by himself/herself you should consider buying a set of high-quality walkies talkies to be in constant touch  with them or teach then and how to use the public phones available around the ship to call you and inform you of their whereabouts
  • You can watch free movies in the regular theater, the 3D theater, by the poolside, or even in your room.Be aware some ships also offer paid options for movies so you may want to block that if you don’t want to incur unauthorized charges.
  • You can borrow all kinds of games from the library for free, such as Sudoku, trivia, bridge, chess, scrabble, and Scattergories.Most ships offer Bingo with prizes for a nominal fee. If your kid wishes to attend, the Bingo sessions arrange for them to be seated in a quieter spot on the edge of the room away from the additional noise.
  • Remember to stay hydrated. It’s not necessary to pay for bottled water when you can get water from the nearest bar if you get thirsty.At night just call room service and ask for a free pitcher of cold water to be delivered to your room.

Tips for Newbie Cruisers with Autism ropes
When you go ashore, make sure you keep a few things in mind.

  • First of all, ship time and port time can be different at times (When traveling through various time zones ships might decide to adhere to one particular region to inconvenience their passengers less .) A good way to keep track of time is to keep your own watch on ship time and get a $10 watch that will show the port time.
  • Above all, don’t miss the ship! Yes, it will sail without you (some travelers with balconies admit that watching people miss the ship is a favorite pass time.)
  • Another tip to remember is to check the weather forecast for the week on the weather channel website.
    That way, you can choose shore activities that will be appropriate and realistic for the day.
  • As a newbie, you might want to take the cruise line tours for ports that are far from the attraction you wish to visit since those are the only shore excursions guaranteed to bring you back to the ship on time.
    Moreover, if they are delayed for any reason the ship waits for those passengers.
  • Be leery of paying a third-party guide ahead of time since sometimes the cruise ship may end up skipping a  port entirely due to unforeseen reasons.
    If you decide to pre-book a private tour and pre-pay (Which I don’t recommend), then check their refund policy and your travel insurance to make sure you are covered if something goes wrong.
  • Also double check the time it takes to get from the ship to your intended destination and back through traffic since if things don’t go as planned, you may miss your ship.
  • Make sure your child has some form of identification on their person at all times when going ashore, in case they get lost.
  • Parents of nonverbal kids with autism should look into using temporary tattoos with the child’s name and a cell number to call in case the child wanders off especially in a foreign country.
  • Prepare a small shore excursion bag with sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid kit and a small fan if temperatures get unbearably hot.
  • Always carry a bottle of water and some sealed snacks as some ports will not allow you to come ashore with any fresh food from the ship.

Tips for Newbie Cruisers with Autism lamp

 

 

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