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Jessica07s

Adventure Ocean & other activities for children with autism

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Hello all,

 

I am new to the forum!  We are taking our first cruise on Harmony of the Seas in Sept 2019.  We are so excited!!  We are bringing our 3 and 4 year olds both of them have autism.  They are not toilet trained.  Do you know if Adventure Ocean will make an exception?  Can they still go in the infant pool or Splashaway bay wearing a swim diaper? Any advice or tips on the cruise would be so helpful and greatly appreciated!!  Thank you!!

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Posted (edited)

First of all, welcome to Cruise Critic!  I can't answer specific to the pools and perhaps a call to your travel agent or RCI to discuss may help.  But I can say that RCI does have children's' programs designed specifically for guests with autism and will welcome your children into the program and will work with their specific needs.  Again, I would suggest talking with your travel agent or directly with RCI for details.

 

You may also want to post this question as well on the RCI board here.  Perhaps others with a similar situation can help:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/51-royal-caribbean-international/

 

Enjoy your cruise with your family!

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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1 hour ago, Jessica07s said:

Yes I will do that. Thank you very much!!

 

You're welcome.  And an advance discussion with your TA or RCI will help assure plans are in place regarding any special requirements you may have prior to you boarding.

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You may also want to post this on the "Family Cruising" and "Cruising with Disability" threads on this site, for more info on the pool situation.

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On 3/2/2019 at 12:16 AM, Jessica07s said:

Hello all,

 

I am new to the forum!  We are taking our first cruise on Harmony of the Seas in Sept 2019.  We are so excited!!  We are bringing our 3 and 4 year olds both of them have autism.  They are not toilet trained.  Do you know if Adventure Ocean will make an exception?  Can they still go in the infant pool or Splashaway bay wearing a swim diaper? Any advice or tips on the cruise would be so helpful and greatly appreciated!!  Thank you!!

 

 

no they will not make an exception.  if they are not fully potty trained they are  not allowed in any kids club programming.  

 same for swimming.. no swim diapers called at all.   the splash zone only.  there is Also no more in room babysitting so the kids will have to be with you at all times.  

 

you might be able to check out a bag of toys from the nursery to play with in your cabin or in some quiet out of the way   public area.  

 

you will need to bring EVERYTHING  and then some..  supplies on board are extremely limited and very expensive.. diapers, etc.  

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I confess I do not know much about it, but there is an organization called "Autism at Sea" which deals with cruising for those on the autism spectrum.  Not sure if they actually plan cruises or offer tips to make your cruise easier/better.  Perhaps someone else here knows more than I do about this.  It (autism at sea) has been mentioned here on the boards in the past.  Maybe a search here would impart more info or you could Google it.  Good luck and I hope you and your family have a wonderful cruise.  

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Hi Everyone,

 

Thank you all so much for your great tips and insight. I have checked with RCI Special Needs/ Access Department about my daughters special needs.  They said they will make exceptions for disabilities in Adventure Ocean and  be limited to the baby splash area.  I plan on my first day of the cruise to visit Adventure Ocean's Open House and register them and get all the information.  It's just nice to know a little bit in advance what to expect.  Thank you all again! 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2019 at 8:30 AM, spookwife said:

 

 

no they will not make an exception.  if they are not fully potty trained they are  not allowed in any kids club programming.  

 same for swimming.. no swim diapers called at all.   the splash zone only.  there is Also no more in room babysitting so the kids will have to be with you at all times.  

 

you might be able to check out a bag of toys from the nursery to play with in your cabin or in some quiet out of the way   public area.  

 

you will need to bring EVERYTHING  and then some..  supplies on board are extremely limited and very expensive.. diapers, etc.  

You are incorrect regarding this as it applies to passengers with autism.  As I mentioned in my initial post RCI has autism specific programs and will accommodate special needs.  If you notice the OP's last response this is confirmed by their conversation with RCI.

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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On 3/3/2019 at 1:32 PM, Rala said:

I confess I do not know much about it, but there is an organization called "Autism at Sea" which deals with cruising for those on the autism spectrum.  Not sure if they actually plan cruises or offer tips to make your cruise easier/better.  Perhaps someone else here knows more than I do about this.  It (autism at sea) has been mentioned here on the boards in the past.  Maybe a search here would impart more info or you could Google it.  Good luck and I hope you and your family have a wonderful cruise.  

As mentioned earlier, RCI has children's program specific to those with autism.  A third party association's program is not necessary in order to cruise with family members with autism, at least with RCI.

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Autism at Sea is a group that travels on all cruise lines and they set up activities for autism including respite and they make sure there is minimal wait times for buffets by having tables set aside; I learned about it while on a cruise from the staff; it made me so sad when they adventure ocean staff said I should have gone on the cruise through autism at sea next week; it was like saying to me that I made a mistake.  RCCL does NOT have a program specific to autism; they “accept” children with autism into adventure ocean but they do not have sensory rooms, classified autism rooms or specific autism programs (only time they do is when “autism at sea” is on board and the cruise has to be booked through that organization.  They staff says they have ABA training but what good is that with 30 kids in a room and only 2 staff members?  They need to make a specific room(s) for these kiddos and staff it appropriately.  I know many autistic children that can be integrated no problem in these rooms; but for non verbal kids being put into a room with 30 screaming kids and then expected to act appropriately and color on their own if they can’t handle playing the games with typical kids is tough.  I brought my son in the area to drop my typical daughter off and they were staring at him flap and asked my daughter a ton of questions after I left.  

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Hi Jessica!

 

My 6yo son has autism and we went on our first cruise last year with Carnival!  We had so much fun we go on our next one in 79 days and the third one in January '20 on PCL! 🙂  So, I guess my note will be more general than specific to your ship...but, as a parent of a child on the spectrum, I'm sure it will still apply somewhat.  We were very nervous as we didn't really know what to expect.  Every kid is different...my son is pretty high functioning.  He is potty-trained, but he still has accidents.  We told the Carnival staff at their kid's club and they were very good at making him go to the potty.  If he had an accident, they called my wife and I, and we would come and "clean it up".  They were very accommodating and took really good care of him!

 

Some general tips that we found useful:

-  We booked the shortest cruise we could at first to see how he did....it was a 5-night cruise out of Charleston on a very small ship.  We didn't want to be stuck at sea for longer than that if it was a disaster.......hindsight, wish we would've booked a 30-night cruise! 🙂 

-  Not sure if you are using a TA or booking direct, but most of the cruise lines have a disability & accessibility department.  Call them early on and let them know your situation.  Our TA contacted them early on in the booking to let them know of our son's "issues".  They provided us a letter and made sure that we had our own special muster drill that was a bit later than everyone else's.  For our son, the issue is lines (which, to be fair, no one really likes standing in lines).  We pay for a suite to get priority boarding and such....this really helps in minimizing lines at the ports.  (I understand that not everyone can do that--but if you can, it does make it a little less stressful.)

-  We choose anytime dining and try to go during times that are less crowded.  You can usually see when times are busier after the first night or so......we also let the staff know on the first night and they tried to accommodate our table to an area that was nearer the kitchen.  He likes to watch the staff and it keeps him pretty occupied.

-  As I said, my son was "potty-trained....but still had accidents".  He wears regular underwear during the day...and pull-ups at night.  HOWEVER....This was the biggest thing we learned...our son was so excited to go that we believe it caused diarrhea.  We ran out of pull-ups by the second day at noon.  There was no where to buy diapers on the ship, that second day was a sea day and the first port day was one of the private Carnival islands-no where to buy any toiletries.  It wasn't until the fourth day that we found a drug store to buy whatever they had.  It was incredibly stressful.  We spent most of the first nights washing underwear.  Bring double the amount of diapers.  Trust me.                                                                                                        -  If your kids watch a certain show...make sure you download whatever it is prior to getting on the ship.  There aren't many options on the televisions and the internet is not conducive for streaming or downloading.   

-  Straws....couldn't find them anywhere.  Always had to ask.  One of the big issues for our son is his motor skills.  Bring some from home!  (Make sure if plastic they end up in the trash!)  If your kids still need lids...didn't ever see a place that had a lid for any cups.

 

My son loved the cruise.  We watched a lot of youtube videos of the cruise ship prior to sailing so he could see the different areas and plan out the things he wanted to do.  (Arcade, kids club, mini golf, etc.)  The staff were all wonderful and once you get underway, the ships are so large and folks are into what they are into that it's like being anywhere else.  I hope you all really enjoy your cruise and wish you all the best!  If I think of anything else...I will let you know!  

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