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Please help me with any general information on the teen club on board. My son is 12 and quite shy at first. He is on the spectrum as well (Asperger’s). Is there any periodic supervision in these clubs? Sorry for the stupid question...Oh yeah, if anyone has a link to a teen compass, that would be extremely helpful and appreciated! Thank y’all so much!

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Teens club is a bit different than the others. Based on my own kids' experience on Freedom the couple of times they went, and feedback I got from others here prior to that cruise, it's much less structured and much more loosely supervised. For the most part, the teens meet up in the teen club on night 1 of the cruise, and it's more to figure out who wants to hang out together, exchange contact info for messaging on the ship, etc. After that, the groups just decide on their own where they'll be meeting up / what they'll be doing on the sea days and each evening.

My one daughter said the staff there were pretty uninvolved as far as trying to organize any kind of activity, but I would imagine that if you spoke to one of the staff on that first night and explained that your son is on the spectrum and has some difficulties "breaking the ice", they would help out. I do recall hearing on one of Matt's podcasts that all of the staff involved with Adventure Ocean are trained in working with kids on the spectrum and others with special needs, so you should be in good hands. They may decide that even though he's 12, he could go with the younger group that normally caps at age 11 (if you think he'd be comfortable with that) so that he'd have a bit more structure or chance to meet other kids at his own pace, rather than trying to keep up with a probably boisterous group of teens running all over the place and doing things on the spur of the moment.

On a related note: One of my friends has a son on the spectrum, and she took him on Anthem last summer for an Autism on the Seas cruise; she said the ship staff were amazing and worked unbelievably well with all the kids on board, and that her son had a fantastic time. This wasn't a case of the whole ship being chartered, it was maybe a couple dozen families with kids on the spectrum who sailed with the rest of the passengers. I don't recall if her son was the same age as yours, so he may have been in a "regular" AO group rather than the teen one, but it's one more data point.

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While not fully related, there is a note in the teen cruise compass that illustrates Royal's position relative to Autism.  I recognize that isn't the same as Asperger's exactly, but it does shine light on the flexible nature of Royal's programs onboard for teens.  You can read the note they place in the Teen Cruise Compass from Indy in this post:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/10621-teen-cruise-compass-events/&do=findComment&comment=100243

You'll find it on page two.  

What I would suggest is visiting them on day one during the open house and talk to them about it.  Then you and your son can decide how to proceed.

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As you can tell from the teen compass, there are supervised activities on some days.  It will depend on who shows up to participate in the games.  We tend to hang out as a family during the day so my kids didn't participate except to meet up with friends in the evenings.  As for moving age groups in AO, it depends on when you travel and the staff.  In my experience, the staff is less willing to move age groups if the ship is packed with kids like during school breaks including spring break.  

My 3rd child just turned 12 and is having a harder time in the teen club than his older siblings.  He has a physical disability and currently is very unwilling to deal with new kids and situations.  We encouraged him to attend the first night but he was unwilling to try again.  We discussed things that he could do then.  For us, that involved allowing him to watch the evening poolside movies.  He also knew where he was allowed to be and that he needed to text us what he was doing and if his plans changed.  For me and our upcoming spring break trip, he'll be expected to try again the first night at the teen club but if it doesn't work then we'll discuss our next plan of movies, etc. 

 

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I feel you on this one.  We have a similiar story with one of our children.  The KEY is to engage in the teen center early.  Get him involved in the early meet and mingle thing and the magic of RCCL will do the rest.  Meeting people early and doing the first mingles is critical.  Make watever deal/bargain with him that you need to in order to get him there.  

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Your experience with the teen center will depend on the mix of teens on board. If there are many of similar age it will be great, if the largest group is older you may find your son may not feel inclined to get involved. My son was older, 17 last cruise and while he is introverted, he had a great time and loved everything the club and the other teens did while on board. Some of the organized activities that I thought he would love he took a pass on as the older teens separated from the younger kids and did more things on their own. By day 4-5 our stateroom became a regular hangout.

You should be able to find a copy of the teen compass that has activities for the week, this was the starting point to introduce the center to my son. He identified a few things he thought he might like to do and was then willing to go to the centre. Once he connected with the other teens the activities went out the window and they just hung out more. Loved that they did a prom night on the second formal night too.

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My teen started in the teen center at age 12 and is going on her 4th cruise now at 16.  I will totally agree...big ship or little (she has done vision and freedom)...it is really important to be there the first night.  Madison met kids and then they would meet up on sea days and at  night.  Even without voom, they would set up times in advance or simply meet at 8 and then figure out if they wanted to stay for activities.  The activities definitely sounded cool, but mostly the kids would wander the ship, swim and eat I've cream!  We have  only gone during high spring break time though, when there are alot of kids.

My middle teen went but it wasn't his thing.  We decided to not push it and since he was 16, we just let him hang in the room where he wanted to eat and watch the NCAA 🏀 tournament.  I think if he had cruised when he was younger he would have had a hard time (also being somewhere on the spectrum). 

Rc is very very good though at working to make situations work.  I would broach the subject withthe counselors on the ship and although I don't know who you would contact, touch base with royal before the cruise.  On vision, my daughter had turned 12 2 weeks before the cruise.  We talked with the counselors on the ship and had she wanted, they would have let her stay down.  As it was, she stayed with the teens and had a great time.  Ask sand discuss...it never hurts and they may have some ideas to make the situation better!  Jane

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