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

 

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.
15440307123_28462074d0_z

 

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?

 

 

 

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort pin

The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas is a giant, resort complex comprising of several hotel towers on 141 acres of land. It offers a unique opportunity for guests of all ages with its magnificent lagoons, water slides, water sports, animal encounters, shopping, multiple restaurants and more. Also, the seascape island retreat is part of the Marriott chain of residences which ensures quality service and luxurious accommodation. We had meant to go there for many years, so we were excited to at least get a sampler for the day during a Royal Caribbean shore excursion while we were cruising last month aboard Oasis of the Seas.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort blue

What You Will See

There is something here for everyone. There are several areas where one can walk around,  engage in water sports,  do some shopping and have a quick bite to eat.

Complimentary Attractions

Upon first visiting Atlantis, travelers might decide just to walk around the big resort to get an idea of what it looks like. They can also check out its sheer magnitude, free exhibits, and shopping options. There is plenty to keep one occupied, and one can walk around the grounds and enjoy the lovely scenery, well-manicured gardens, and the beautiful lagoons. There is a shopping mall across the mini bay called the Marina Village with over thirty stores!

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort building

Guests should visit the Dig Deck, an Aquarium like structure, and experience the lost world of Atlantis. This visit is a self-guided tour in which one walks through tunnels and sees large water tanks and different artifacts. The floor is paved and easy to navigate. It isn’t too hot or stuffy, and it is all shaded.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort swim

The first stop is an ‘archaeological base camp’  followed by a lobster exhibit that is captivating to watch. The little reef-dwelling crustaceans go up and down small bars and ladders which are very entertaining. There’s a wishing well overlooking the lagoon that is teeming with different marine life, including friendly stingrays.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort arch

Visitors can admire the murals and check out the lab and Fountain of Youth along with the Treasury room. The aquariums are filled with groves of coral reef with eels, seahorses, and jellyfish. Of course, the aquarium has everybody’s favorite – clown fish. The kids will love all the little “Nemo” fish.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort art

Anyone can also enjoy the Predator Tunnel. This attraction is a giant aquarium with sharks and other marine life, and it feels like they are watching every move from every angle. Not to be missed is the tunnel where guests can sit cozily on the inflated tubes and float in a clear plastic tunnel while sharks swim all around the tunnel in plain view gawking at the visitors.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort horse

The Aquaventure park (requires a ticket)

Stretching across the vast waterscape and well-kept beachfront is the Aquaventure Waterpark. It is perfect for thrill-seeking guests as well as family members of all ages. The park is free for guests staying on the property, but visitors can purchase a day pass.There are animal encounters with dolphins, stingrays, and sea lions. There are also two slide sections each offering their unique features and a Lazy River. The first slide is a replica of the Mayan Temple that encompasses the 60-foot Leap of Faith, Five-Story Serpent slide, Challenger slide and Jungle slide.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort slide

For those wishing the push the envelope further, they can take the 200-foot long Abyss plunge at the Power Tower along with several other shorter slides. Even the resort’s Lazy River here is upgraded with wind-wave panels and bridges and water cannons. For an additional charge, visitors can interact with dolphins or stingrays. Those who book in advance can enjoy the “join a marine trainer for a day” program.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort shark

Location, Hours, and Admission

Travelers can fly into Nassau Bahamas or takes a ferry from Miami. Another way to visit is of course as we did while on a  cruise ship shore excursion which includes a water taxi or bus shuttle from the port.

A day pass to the resort will be around $150 per person. The property does limit the amount of visitors per day so booking ahead of time is essential.Parents should check how long their cruise ship is in port for to get the most out of the day. The Aquaventure park opens at 10 AM.

Family Fun at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort underwater

 

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents need to prepare their children for a lot of walking around in wet areas around pools and slides. Kids can’t run around and need to be aware of other guests.
  • During high traffic days, there are often lines by the slides with no real way to get in front.
  • While there are accessible ramps throughout the resort, most of the slides are not equipped for special needs.
  • The best time visit is during the non-Hurricane season between November and April when it is not too hot outdoors.
  • The resort sells sunscreen and insect repellent. We discovered on our visit that mosquitoes were less of a problem than bees.
  • .There is no need for parents to bring life vests or inflatable tubes; the resort has these on hand.Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando:Tmom Travel Disclosure
  • We were impressed to see that the staff is well-rehearsed and trained as well as helpful with autism. All pools have lifeguards, and the slides have staff who explain the slide procedures correctly.
  • There is Wi-Fi available  for purchase for all guests there for the day.
  • The resort offers chairs, towels, umbrellas and of course showers but for an extra fee, visitors can rent a cabana for the day by one of the lagoons.
  • There are multiple food venues dotted throughout the resort that offers snacks and drinks as well as places to sit down and enjoy a quick meal.

Creating the Perfect Social Travel Story for Autism

One of the questions many parents contact me, about is how to create a good social travel story to prepare their children with autism for their upcoming vacation.
Unfortunately, most travel venues like airports, airlines, hotels and cruise lines don’t provide one, so it is pretty much up to the parents to create one for their kids.
Since the summer vacation is approaching fast here are some essential points to keep in mind while creating your social travel story for your child with autism.

Creating the-Perfect Social Travel Story for Autism books

 

Keep it Simple

Don’t overwhelm your child with unnecessary details.
The story should provide a rough outline, and you can always provide more information as you go along.

Make it Visual

Most kids like visuals better than text so make sure you download and print pictures of the intended destination from the internet.

Use Different Media Sources

A social story doesn’t have to be solely printed on paper. In today’s day and age you can put together a video playlist on Youtube or Vimeo, bookmark a few blog posts or store some google pictures on your tablet.

Describe it Step by Step

The booklet should have a beginning and an end to the story.Start it with the preparations you and your family will make before your arrival at the destination and continue to describe the steps (in order) till you return home and unpack.

Make Extra Copies

After you put time and effort in creating your story make sure you print, download or store several copies in case the first one gets lost. Some parents like to provide their kids with a laminated copy of the story or even lanyard with cards, so the child can refer to the story during travel.

Build Excitement

Depending on your child’s interests you can choose to highlight certain parts of the story and add additional content; like meeting characters in theme parks, souvenir shopping or even visiting the local zoo.

Make it Engaging

If you choose to make a paper copy, you can add additional empty pages at the end for your kid to fill with his or her memories and photos after your vacation.This way the social story can become a cherished album filled with memories for your child to refer to in the years to come.

 Here are the different topics to cover depending on the type of travel 

Flying and airports

  • Packing luggage and a personal bag
  • Getting to the airport
  • Parking the car
  • Checking your luggage
  • The TSA check
  • Places in the airport including lounges, bathrooms, play areas, stores, and eateries.Reiterate safety rules of sticking with your family members
  • The departing gate and  getting to it (by foot, train)
  • Who to ask for help when getting lost
  • The airplane – seats( including mentioning sitting in your seat and being buckled), overhead bins, entertainment /food options.Lavatory
  • Deplaning and retrieving the luggage from the carousel

Cruising/All inclusive resorts/Hotels

  • Getting to the ship or resort
  • Check in process including passport control ,security, getting a room key, safety bracelet fro the younger kids
  • Cabin/room description.Appropriate use of the room phone
  • Public places like lobby, customer service, elevators and even corridors near your room or cabin
  • The muster drill
  • Activities you can do in the room/cabin along with what you can’t do like make noise or play ball for example
  • Ship or resort activities indoors and outdoors.Make sure you include pools and reiterate safety as many
    places don’t provide lifeguards
  • Dining options for breakfast,lunch,dinner,snacks,desserts
  • Attractions-show venues, clubs, parades, character appearances if you can get pictures or videos
    Kids’ clubs
  • Getting off the ship or leaving

Ports of call/day trip/theme parks

  • Packing clothing /snacks
  • Security checks
  • Getting there -transportation and entertainment
  • What attractions or activities you will be  visiting or doing
  • Food venues, bathrooms
  • Where and what to buy there (if your kid likes souvenirs)
  • Who to ask for help (badges or uniforms in a theme park)

 

 

 

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite

 

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite pin
The Norwegian Breakaway operated by the Norwegian Cruise Lines has a total of 1,024 staterooms and 238 suites.With the Rockettes as its godmothers and New York City as its base, it is one of the most glamorous cruise ships navigating the high seas.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite ice

Having never cruised with Norwegian cruise lines before we decided to book a two-night cruise to nowhere solely for the purpose of enjoying the ship. Although ,we usually book inside cabins this time so I splurged on a mini-suite with a balcony.
Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite maxx

Decor

The ship is decorated in a sleek modern style with vibrant colors and heavy use of metallics. Unlike other vessels we’ve cruised on, this one has a hip almost avantgarde vibe to it starting with the Peter Maxx painted the hull.Bright murals splashed across the front of the ship, the gym, and the pool areas complemented the look.

.
Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite stairs

 

We stayed in suite 10834, which was cozy though it was oddly shaped and relatively narrow. Our contemporary decorated suite featured tan wave patterned carpeting in the bedroom and light tan tile flooring in the bathroom.

 

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite corridor

Our mini suite

As we entered, we noticed the emergency procedures prominently displayed on the back of the door. Another feature that caught our eye was the thermostat, allowing travelers to adjust the suite’s temperature to suit their preferences.
Underneath the temperature control device were buttons that could be pushed to indicate whether guests wanted their rooms freshened up or they did not wish to be disturbed by housekeeping.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite bell

The two double beds (that could be put together to form a queen ) were comfortable as were the crisp linens and fluffy hypoallergenic pillows supplied. There were two small nightstands beside the beds that could house books, electronics, or other items that needed to be readily accessed.

The cabin closet featured wooden shelving as well as the mini in-room safe. It was a bit of a stretch to reach from the beds to turn the lights on and off, but that was only a minor issue.
The suite’s large couch in the sitting area next to the beds could double as an extra bed for a teen that traveled with parents.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite beds

 

Across from the beds, there was a large television with a cabinet beneath it. The cabinet held a cooler that served as the suite’s mini-bar stocked with snacks and cold beverages for purchase. The suite also had a small work /vanity area with a phone and two outlets to charge our devices along with a small stool to sit on. The Coffee and tea making section took up the rest of the counter space.

 

The balcony

Originally I was reluctant to book a cabin with a balcony. However, I felt reassured when I saw the double locks on the sliding door. The two locks were tricky to open for most kids and provided that extra layer of peace of mind for parents to kids with autism.
The suite’s  balcony was surprisingly clean and overlooked the lifeboats offering a partial ocean view. But all in all,i t was large enough to sit in and enjoy the ocean breeze

 

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite sofa

The suite’s bathroom

We loved the bathroom facilities.
There was a sufficiently large counter that could hold some towels along with two sinks. For additional storage, the bathroom had a wooden cabinet underneath the sinks.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite phone

The shower was large with a top-of- the -line handheld device that featured water jets.There were soap and shampoo dispensers provided by the cruise line.
The enclosure made of plain glass with no frosting provided no real privacy. We did appreciate the fact that the area had a grab bar for passengers who needed it. Furthermore, the raised section at the bottom of the shower helped prevent flooding which was a bonus.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite sink

Autism Travel Tips 

  • The suite boasted two safety bars in the bathroom, one near the toilet and another in the shower. The bars allowed those with mobility issues to use these facilities.
  • Anti slip mats for the shower were not provided, so those that need this item will need to bring it along.
  • Parents might want to pack night lights to help family members navigate their way in the dark.

Review of our NCL Breakaway Balcony Mini Suite jeff

 

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess pin

Owned by the Princess Cruise Lines, this vessel is a Grand-class cruise ship that entered service in 2001. Sister ship of Grand Princess and Star Princess she can carry more than 3,600  passengers and crew.
Last month while the ship was traveling between L.A and the Mexican Riviera we decided to book a weekend cruise and enjoy the outstanding Princess amenities provided onboard.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess movies

What Makes it Family Worthy?

As we mentioned before we are huge fans of cruising since it is a way to enjoy a great vacation at a reasonable price, visit several ports yet unpack only once.
Though this particular ship offers less family friendly activities than its counterparts on competing cruise lines, it still had multiple venues to engage passengers of all age groups.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess blue

Fellow Travelers

Depending on its itinerary this vessel attracts more retirees and couples. However, families still make a decent sized segment of onboard guests.

 

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess piano

Décor

The ship decor was modern using vibrant colors with wood accents throughout the vessel. The dining spaces were designed in hues of tans and browns while the entertainment areas looked more glitzy dressed in pinks, purples, and golds.

Neutral colors like cream and silver were prevalent in our bathroom, but the floor consisted of blue and white tiles arranged in a checkerboard pattern. The bedroom area was mostly decorated in white and other neutrals with lightly hued wood paneling throughout. There was also red patterned carpeting and a blue chair in our cabin blending some color to the overall design scheme.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess muster

Family Entertainment


As mentioned before, this particular ship had fewer entertainment options than other ships we had previously vacationed on.
With that said our son with autism enjoyed some of the ‘grown up’ activities that he had never tried before.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess pool

We all tried the outdoor activities like the pools, water slides, mini golf, giant chess, shuffleboard, virtual bowling (WII) and ping pong games. He discovered Bingo which though a bit of a money pit helped him practice, his social interactions with staff and fellow passengers. Also, he found the cupcake decorating class fun so he went back the next day to do it again.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess chess

For evening entertainment, we did sit through a Broadway review of the British 60’s invasion songs which was mediocre, and we were disappointed the movie under the stars was canceled due to high winds.
Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess show

What was surprisingly good was an acrobatic show in the lobby area that we watched mesmerized, and the pretend New Year’s countdown party, a Princess tradition.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess cake

The ship featured several spots to dine throughout the cruise.
Apart from the Horizon Court  Buffet and regular dining restaurants it had pay for purchase restaurants like  Sabatini’s, serving Italian fare, and the Crown Grill, offering steakhouse style grub.
We dined at Sabatini for 25$ Prix fix menu per person and had an overall enjoyable experience.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess bar


Our Cabin

Our family stayed in the P303  cabin on Plaza Deck Five.
We were greeted by balloons and a celebratory poster tacked to our cabin door in honor of our son’s birthday, which was a nice touch.

Our cabin had a  porthole window providing an excellent view of the outside. The safety information found on the back of the door was clearly marked to let us know where our muster station was in the event of an emergency.

 

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess curtain

Upon entering our cabin, the bathroom area was on the left. Just across the small entryway, there was a closet that contained all the lifejackets in the case of any unforeseen emergency. It had ample amount of storage space and could easily hold lots of our luggage.

The cabin itself had two beds with nightstands in between them. There was also a pull out bunk bed that could be opened at night and closed during the day for our son. It contained a safety bar that helps keep sleepers from falling out.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess tv

Our cabin’s television was placed over the desk, as was a large mirror. The latter feature allowed the space to function as a vanity. A hairdryer was attached to the wall nearby to further facilitate this usage. More in keeping with the desk’s traditional purpose as a workspace were the additional shelves and drawers that were included in its design.

There was a phone and some beverage glasses on the desktop for our use, and one of the cabinets beneath it contained a mini fridge. There were also a fair number of outlets provided, but travelers who find that they need more may want to bring their electric strips.A visible thermostat helped complete the picture as it allowed the room temperature to be quickly adjusted to our liking.
Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess safe

Our Bathroom

The bathroom was incredibly well organized with several hooks for hanging towels and wet clothing. There were two fully stocked towel racks above the commode. Extra toilet paper could be found under the sink just in case it was needed. There was a sizeable open cabinet at one end of the sink counter that was capable of holding even more personal belongings.

Under the sink was a shelf that held the waste bin but it could also be used to store supplies. The shower itself was fairly ordinary in design.

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess towels
However, it had excellent water pressure and featured raised up edges along the bottom so that water didn’t get splashed all over the floor. The shower was separated from the toilet area with a curtain.

The cabin also contained a full-length mirror near the bathroom area so that we could check our outfits before departing their room to go anywhere.
Overall, though the room was not large, it turned out to be functional and well organized.

 

Family Weekend Cruise on the Golden Princess glasses

Autism Travel Tips

  • The shower in the cabin has a safety handle so that those who need to do so can use it.
  • We discovered that walkie-talkies were useful devices on cruises and recommend that other families bring along their own sets to communicate with each other.
  • Gluten free and other diet observing passengers should let the cruise line know ahead of time whether they plan to stay on the ship while in port so they could be accommodated.
  • Parents to kids with autism should ask guest services for  restaurants and show seating arrangements .t
  • Word of caution about the coffee shop on the ship; the hot beverages are served at a very high temperature so parents should remind their kids to take extra precautions to avoid scalding themselves,
  • Parents should pack a set of noise canceling headphones or earplugs if their kid wishes to attend the ultra-noisy new year’s or sail away parties.

Taking Kids with Autism to the Cruise Ship’s Dining Room

 

Every cruiser wants to eat at least one meal, if not several, in the main dining room, but the experience can be a little overwhelming for a person with autism.
The good news is that there are some steps you can take to make the cruise ship’s dining experience more pleasurable for both you and your child, and they don’t take too much planning if you communicate clearly with the cruise staff from the very beginning.

 

Taking Kids with Autism to the Cruiseship's Main Dining Room

 

 

Notify the dining room staff of allergies or special diets

If your child has food allergies or is following a gluten free/casein free diet, it is best to notify the staff in advance so they can make the necessary preparations.
Keep in mind that if your child is on a particular diet, it is easier to dine in one specific dining room versus different restaurants around the ship as the chef and servers will be familiar with your issues and be more likely to work with you.

Early dining

Most American families are accustomed to eating on the early side so you probably will choose to eat during the early dining seating which can start anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00 depending on the cruise line’s schedule.
Opting for that time slot, will also allow you to watch the earlier entertainment show that usually starts around 7:30 and goes on for one and a half to two hours, helping you end the evening comfortably by ten o’clock.

Make sure you have an alternate plan for the days your shore excursion returns late back to the cruise ship, and you miss your original reservation.

Get a table by yourself

Asking for a separate table depends on your family, how comfortable you are with your own child’s behaviors in public and with strangers either asking questions or making comments.
From personal experience, I can say most people won’t say anything negative even if they feel uncomfortable and will just ask the Maitre D’ to move them to another table.

If you feel strongly about keeping your privacy, and know you’d like to be seated alone then it is imperative to ask ahead of time since many cruise ships may not have many smaller tables to accommodate all requests.

Request a secluded and quiet area

Some kids are more noise sensitive than others, so this might not apply to everyone.
If your child is noise sensitive, then ask for a table specifically AS FAR AWAY  from the center area since that’s where it can get quite noisy particularly during the dinner rush hour and during the staff singing gigs.

If the Maitre D’ is still unable to accommodate you, remember to ask your server a couple of minutes notice before any loud music starts so you can make a quick exit.

 

Communicate with your server

Communicating openly with your dining server is going to be critical for creating the best situation for you and your child.

  • Ask to have your kid served faster than the rest of the table and not necessarily in the ‘right’ dining order-entrees before appetizers, etc. if they are too. Antsy to wait for their food
  • Not everyone knows, but you can ask the chef to cook ‘special requests’ for your child if it is something they specifically like macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets.
    My son charmed our server once into bringing him bread pudding at dinner for several days in a row though it was part of the lunch menu.
  • Tell them about your child’s food choices and preferences. If your child dislikes certain colors or his/her foods touching, this is the time to mention it. You should remind your server of this particular accommodation, at the beginning of each meal to avoid unnecessary meltdowns when everyone’s hungry, tired, or in a rush to see a show.
  • Remember to mention if you DON’T wish your child to be served anything without your permission, such as refillable sodas and extra dessert items.
  • Always ask for an additional set of silverware and napkins, especially if your child drops things or spills drinks often.

Antsy kids

If your child gets ‘antsy’ during longer paced meals, remember to bring some entertainment along to help them especially between courses.
You can always ask your server for a to-go plate, especially for desserts.

What tips have you picked up along the way to make the main dining easier?

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest