|image courtesy of Michal Marcol/FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
If, as a parent of a special-needs child you've always dreamt of a vacation on the high seas, but were afraid of the hyper-sensory experience of cruising, we have some amazing news for you! Autism on the Seas (AotS), an organization committed to helping special needs families find suitable cruises, has certified the entire Royal Caribbean International fleet as "autism-friendly!" This classification denotes that Royal Caribbean goes to special lengths to help its guests with autistic family members enjoy their cruise.
Since 2007, Autism on the Seas has been working with Royal Caribbean in developing cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with special needs, including, but not limited to, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to qualify for a Bronze Certification as Autism Friendly, though services are quickly expanding to other cruise lines as well.
Here's how it works: Autism on the Seas provides Special Staff (selected from regular cruises throughout the year) that assist adults and families in adapting the typical cruise services, as well as providing specialized Respite and Private Activities/Sessions that allow guests the use of the ships entertainment venues in an accommodated and assisted manner. Their professional Staff is educated, experienced, background checked, and sanctioned by the cruise lines. AotS Staff are available to accompany passengers on their cruise to provide these amazing vacation and travel experiences onboard Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. They also provide a "Cruise Assistance Package" (a no-charge service for cruising without AotS Staff) on all of the major cruise lines to help accommodate guests who wish to cruise on their own. For more information on each of these options, check out their What's Included page!
Safe and happy travels!