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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?