Cruising with Autism

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What to know about Cruising with Autism aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Line

Cruising with Autism
Royal Caribbean – Wonder of the Seas

Families traveling with Autistic family members and friends can encounter scenarios and environments that are not common in their everyday lives. And these can be incredibly stressful for individuals that thrive on the known and the routine. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Line both offer opportunities for groups cruising with Autism to cruise safely and securely, eliminating stress and worry. Well, to a certain extent! Let’s talk about what each cruise line can do for those guests cruising with Autism!

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Cruising with Autism

Royal Caribbean offers an autism friendly initiative for families living with autism, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. This includes sensory friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism friendly training for Adventure Ocean staff and more.

Autism Friendly Features

families living with autism
Cruising with Autism - Coco Cay Family Cabana

Royal Caribbean provides priority check-in, boarding and departure for families with Autism, and special dietary accommodations when necessary. These are brilliant accommodations for families with autism, as waiting is oftentimes one of the most difficult tasks for Autistic individuals.

Children ages 3-11 years old can receive flexible grouping by ability and exception to the toilet-training policy in Adventure Ocean. Pagers and/or phones may be available for parents while autistic children are in the care of the Adventure Ocean Club.

Autism friendly films
Cruising with Autism pexels-photo-7991506.jpeg

Autism Friendly Films are movie theater experiences presented in a low-lit and low volume environment. Guests are encouraged to freely talk and walk around during the film. In order for a sailing to qualify for an autism friendly film, there must be at least five autistic children onboard. They are also offered on all autism group cruises.

Autism Friendly toy lending
Cruising with Autism - Autism Friendly Toy Lending

Available on all ships as part of the Adventure Ocean Youth Program, Autism Friendly Toy Lending is a newer program. You may request the program, and Royal Caribbean will provide a tote bag of Autism friendly toys that are appropriate for your child.

autism friendly activities
Cruising with Autism - Youth Activities

Royal Caribbean offers activities for children with all abilities. Families are encouraged to communicate their child’s needs and abilities to the well-trained staff so that the staff can make the appropriate modifications to make sure the children are all able to be included! So great!

Autism Social Story

A social story is a useful tool for a lot of children. It is a written or visual guide that describes various social interactions, situations, behaviors, skills, or concepts. These social stories can be useful to help prepare autistic children for what’s to come. You can visit Royal Caribbean’s Cruising Social Story here:

Royal Caribbean Social Story
autism offerings for teens and adults

In addition to everything above, Royal Caribbean also offers Teen and Adult programs. Unlike the children’s programs, though, the adult and teen programs do not provide supervision or one on one attention.

Disney Cruise Line

Cruising With Autism Disney Cruise Line

Much like Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line also offers accommodations for Autistic guests. First off, check-in. You can actually complete the online check-in at least 72 hours prior to sailing. When you do this, you can choose your terminal arrival time. This will cut down on your wait time for security screening. You can also identify your needs for the Cast Members and they will provide assistance.

disney cruise line social story

Disney Cruise Line’s Social Story comes in a downloadable 30-page activity booklet. This booklet is great for all kids, and highlights the arrival/boarding process, muster drill, as well as fun activities for kids. You can access this booklet here:

Cruising with Autism DCL Social Story
Disney Cruise Line
theaters, movies, and restaurants

Some restaurants and shows have audio/visual experiences, like strobe lights and fog, for example, that may be frightening. You can contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services at least 60 days in advance of sailing to discuss seating options.

In addition, Cast Members will be available beginning 30 minutes before shows at the Walt Disney Theater. You may request to hold seats if someone in your party cannot wait and must arrive as close to show time as possible. Seats in the back of the theater are usually recommended for guests that may need to come and go during the performance.

Finally, the Buena Vista Theater offers Family Movie Fun Time, which is an opportunity to enjoy a family feature film in a relaxed environment. Unlike a traditional movie theater experience, some lights will be left on, the volume will be turned down, and audience members are welcome to talk, leave their seats, walk around, and have fun.

characters, water slides, and debarkation
Disney Cruise Line Characters
Mickey and Minnie enjoying Alaska

Disney Cruise Line provides the opportunity for just one person to wait in line for characters if there is a member of your family with a disability that impacts their ability to wait in line. Single parents or guardians are also given the opportunity to speak to Character Greeters for assistance. For guests who want to ride the Aquaduck/Aquadunk/Mickey Slide/Twist n Spout, etc, but cannot wait in lines, it is advised to arrive just prior to opening or near closing. Unfortunately there are no alternate entrances for these experiences.

Your family can choose Express Walk Off, Mid-Point Debarkation, or Delayed Debarkation. These options are available to decrease the stress of the debarkation process. You may contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services at (407) 566-3602 or via email at specialservices@disneycruise.com.

youth activities – disney cruise line

Unlike Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line is unable to provide one-on-one counselor care, a counselor with specialty training, or counselor-assisted medical attention. There is also no exception for older children without the capacity for toilet training. Children who attend the Kids Clubs must be toilet trained and able to participate within counselor-to-child ratio groups.

Guests with Cognitive Disabilities are encouraged to attend Open House programs to take part in Kids Club activities.

So there you have it! Cruising with Autism! Cruising is a great way to see the world and it’s so wonderful to see travel companies embracing opportunities to include all families. Have you gone cruising? Let’s hear your experiences in the comments!

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Adventures by Disney

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Adventures By Disney: Group Vacations with the Disney Difference

Delight in a dream Disney family vacation and gain a lifetime of memories with Adventures by Disney—a leader in guided group travel. Adventures by Disney offers itineraries all over the world, short, weekend escapes to add before or after a Disney Cruise, Cruise Expeditions, and MORE! Offering 40+ Adventures over 7 continents, there is surely something for everybody!

Adventures by Disney
Photo: Adventures by Disney

So What IS Adventures by Disney?

Adventures by Disney is a completely unique, one-of-a-kind, luxury vacation. These are guided group vacations with the Disney Difference! You can choose weekend getaways, or land-based trips, or River Cruises, or even upgrades to your Disney Cruise Line Vacation!

So what is the Disney Difference? It is the quality you’ve come to expect with Disney, including authenticity, quality, safety, and MAGIC! You will get to know your specially-trained Adventure Guides, who will help with everything from helping plan own time activities to ensuring your luggage makes it from destination to destination!

authenticity that is hassle free!

You will also receive a true, authentic travel experience. Every itinerary includes local experts in addition to Adventure Guides. These local experts aid in providing the local authenticity of the destination while you’re there.

Adventures by Disney - Hassle free

And your trip will be 100% hassle free! Transportation, transfers, baggage handling and activity fees during your trip are taken care of, so you and your group can relax and enjoy an amazing adventure.

magic moments and vip access
Adventures by Disney - Magical Moments
Photo: Adventures by Disney

An Adventures by Disney vacation is your “backstage pass” to the world. These guided group vacations offer insider access for unique behind-the-scenes glimpses into exotic locales and select events around the globe. An Adventures by Disney vacation is your “backstage pass” to the world. Our guided group vacations offer insider access for unique behind-the-scenes glimpses into exotic locales and select events around the globe. The true Disney Difference!

Adventures by Disney
Drakenstein Valley, South Africa – Adventure Guide Kira

But why would I do this over the other companies that offer Group Tours?

Obviously, there are many other companies that offer trips similar to this, but what sets Disney apart from other companies are the experiences only Disney can provide, like a private, after-hours tour of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, participating in an Alms offering ceremony with monks in Laos, learning the art of Peruvian weaving from master artisans, and so much more! And, of course, being Disney, these vacations cater mainly towards families. Each itinerary is appropriate for children and families, allowing the whole family to experience amazing destinations around the world together. At the end of each day of the trip, every guest receives a special Disney pin – a Disney collectible you can only get on Adventures by Disney!

Adventures by Disney
Rafting down the Colorado River – Adventure Guide Kira

Everything Included in your Adventures by Disney Itinerary

Transportation and world-class accommodations

You will be met right from the jump when you arrive at the airport! Disney organizes all of the transportation between airports and hotels, right up until your final departure.

All hotels must meet the Disney Standard on the entire Adventures by Disney vacation, meaning you will never be in a sketchy location, wondering if a serial killer is staying in the next room!

Tickets and Admissions to Events and Attractions

You will have absolutely nothing to think about except the amazing time you and your family will be having seeing the world!

Your trip will include MOST meals. While some of them will be on your own, a great many of them are included. You will also have the opportunity to dine in many spectacular dining locations that locals around the world swear by! Dreamt of dining under the stars around a campfire in Alaska? THEY CAN DO THAT!! Contact me to hear more about amazing dining opportunities and trip itineraries!! All taxes and gratuities are also included in the price of your trip.

Adventures by Disney
Antarctica – Adventure Guide Kira

Adventures by Disney offers luggage services during the entirety of your trip. Just put the Adventures by Disney tag on your suitcase and they will take care of the rest! The Adventure Guides also serve as your personal concierge. They will aid in the planning of “on your own time!”

VIP Treatment

Every trip receives 2 Disney-trained Adventure Guides. They know everything about the itinerary and locations you will be traveling to. They will arrange private events, privately-guided tours, unprecedented backstage access, bypassing lines at popular museums and attractions, special kids-only adventures, and unique cultural experiences with local experts at every site!

PENGUINS!!! – Adventure Guide Kira

Looking for even MORE information, including Destinations? Visit my Adventures by Disney site then contact me for your Adventures by Disney quote!

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Visit Puerto Rico!!

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Contrary to popular belief, Puerto Rico is actually a part of the United States, and I’m going to tell you why if you never visit, you’re missing out! This tropical paradise, located in the Caribbean Sea, is an archipelago made up of the main island, four smaller islands, and hundreds of cays and islets! When you visit Puerto Rico, you will experience amazing sights, sounds, and tastes!! You can experience the Island in an immersive way through its food, drinks, and music! Taste exotic infusions in dishes and cocktails, dance to the rhythms of salsa, reggaetón, and more, experience first-hand the pride of Puerto Ricans in exciting festivals.

Start in San Juan

Puerto Rico

If you’re visiting Puerto Rico for the first time, you’ll probably want to see a little bit of everything. And that’s EXACTLY what you should do! Start in San Juan, and get an authentic taste of the Caribbean! Head over to the Piñones neighborhood of the nearby town of Loíza.

Located just 15-minutes outside of San Juan (and only about five minutes from the airport), enjoy this amazing strip of oceanfront kiosks and restaurants! Grab a sit-down meal at one of the many amazing restaurants, and enjoy fresh local seafood platters like whole-fried red snapper, shrimp-stuffed mofongo, or garlic mahi mahi. Or go kiosk-hopping (what locals call chinchorreo) and grab your first taste of Puerto Rican fritters like alcapurrias, bacalaítos, and piononos. Embrace the local culture and be sure to wash them down with an ice-cold beer or fresh fruit frappe!!

Visit Puerto Rico - La Posita Beach

You can’t visit Puerto Rico and not go to the beach. Since you’re in the Piñones neighborhood, change into your swimsuit and head to La Posita. This quiet beach is framed by a rock formation that creates a quiet shallow tidepool. Relaxing, right?

San Juan For families
Visit Puerto Rico - Old San Juan

You’re in Old San Juan, so take it all in! This 500-year old city has a lot to offer! Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a citadel high above San Juan designed to protect the island from being attacked from the sea. You could also visit Museo Casa Blanca, the former mansion of Ponce de Leon, the first governor of San Juan.

For history buffs, like me, you’ll want to visit the Cuartel de Ballajá, which was originally built as housing for the Spanish and Puerto Rican armies. Now, you will find it still fully functional, housing many things like the Museo de Las Américas , where you can learn about the conservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico. You can go on your own, or book guided tours, but it’s not something you’ll want to miss!!

San Juan has many museums and more!
El Morro
Head to Casa BACARDÍ Puerto Rico for a tour and a rum tasting!!
  • Historical Tour – First tour starts at 9:15 a.m., last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.
  • Rum Tasting Tour – First tour starts at 10:00 a.m., last tour starts at 4:00 p.m.
  • Mixology Class – First tour starts at 10:30 a.m., last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.


Enjoy a welcome cocktail at the waterfront Bat Bar Pavilion, then join a guided tour to discover how BACARDÍ rum is made, and learn about the family-owned company’s history of craft and innovation. Other experiences include a rum tasting tour, mixology class and bottling your own BACARDÍ.

Puerto Rico – A Land of Beauty

El Yunque National Forest

Puerto Rico - El Yunque

One of the current hottest trends in the US is visiting all the US National Parks. Well, if you want to do that, you NEED to visit El Yunque National Forest! This is the ONLY Tropical Rainforest in the US National Forest service! With an average rainfall of 120 inches a year, El Yunque has a very diverse ecosystem, hosting hundreds of unique plant and animal species, including the Island’s famous coquí frog.

Coqui Singing Frog
El Yunque
Yunque know before you go – Reserve your spot!

To guarantee visitors and the Forest Service employees’ safety and health, you must wear a facemask at all times and reserve your visit in advance through www.recreation.gov/. 

Only one reservation per vehicle is required, and it can be booked up to a month before your visit. Tickets for your car are free, but the booking engine charges a small fee payable by credit or debit card. Your entry ticket can be used to enter from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. Recreation areas close at 5:00 p.m.

hiking el yunque

If you love hiking, you’re going to LOVE El Yunque! You will enjoy hiking to one of the natural pools to cool off with a swim. Head over to La Coca trail and hike down to one of several ponds along the route for the perfect way to cool off.

For fun in the form of a rope swing, choose El Angelito trail, where a 4km hike can end with a dive into its lagoon. There are plenty of additional options for trail with varying levels of difficulty throughout the park.

Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays

Puerto Rico has three of the five bioluminescent bays in the world.

In 2006, Mosquito Bay was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Its glow-in-the-dark phenomenon is due to an abundance of tiny dinoflagellates — about 1,000,000 to 2,100,000 microorganisms per gallon of water! The lack of light pollution further enhances this natural spectacle as you move through the bay by kayak or electric boat.

Explore the underground in puerto rico’s caves

Get off the beaten path on an underground adventure. The caves of Puerto Rico offer adventurous visitors the opportunity to go hiking, spelunking, rock climbing, rappelling, or rafting in some of the Island’s less-visited parts.

Wade through narrow rock openings waist-deep in an underground river with only a headlamp for illumination. Rappel through the mouth of a cavern alongside a giant waterfall. Discover indigenous hieroglyphs after a climb. Or, if you’re looking for an easy hike and some stunning pictures, that’s readily available, too. Visiting the caves of Puerto Rico offers diverse and unique ways of experiencing the Island, which not many tourists or even locals know about. 

Caves of Puerto Rico
Toro verde nature Adventure park
Visit Puerto Rico

Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in the town of Orocovis, about an hour and 45 minutes from San Juan and hidden between rolling mountains covered in dense forest. The area boasts some of the most breathtaking mountain views on the Island, which you’ll see flying beneath you, if you choose to go ziplining.

Since the park opened in 2009, its network of ziplines and suspension bridges has steadily expanded, and now includes two enormous ziplines, The Beast at nearly 1.5 kilometers and The Monster, the second longest zipline in the world!!!

Life’s a beach!
Puerto Rico beaches

And, of COURSE, you cannot visit Puerto Rico without going to the BEACH!!! Puerto Rico has over 270 miles of shoreline and over 300 beaches to explore! Black sand, white sand, pink sand, all in one sand, there is no shortage of beaches to help you relax when visiting Puerto Rico! Read about the best beaches in Puerto Rico here!

I could go on and on and on about what you can do in Puerto Rico! I haven’t even gotten started on the shopping, dining, and nightlife!

How Can I Visit Puerto Rico?

You may be asking yourself “how can I get to Puerto Rico tomorrow to experience all of this?” Well there are a ton of options! First off, you need to CONTACT ME!!! I can book any option you may choose!

Pick a cruise with a day (or two) in Puerto Rico. OR EVEN a cruise that LEAVES from San Juan, and tack on a couple days before embarking on the cruise! You can book a land only stay, too! The opportunities are never ending!

Are you ready to go to Puerto Rico?!?!?! Let’s do it!

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