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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Cruising with mobility needs

18 Jan 2023

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Rachel and Rebecca share their experience cruising on Liberty of the Seas after needing special wheelchair accessibility on their cruise.

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Cruising while blind

10 Aug 2022

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AJ shares his experience going on Royal Caribbean as a blind guest.

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How one group helps families with Autism cruise on Royal Caribbean

12 Jul 2022

Have you ever seen a group with matching bright orange t-shirts on your Royal Caribbean cruise? If so, you likely had volunteers and families from Autism on the Seas on your cruise. 

These volunteers help families with special needs children and adults have an incredible Royal Caribbean cruise by providing assistive services and care. 

Photo Credit: Autism on the Seas Facebook

Autism on the Seas is an organization that has a longstanding partnership with Royal Caribbean to operate regularly on cruise itineraries around the world. In fact, Autism on the Seas, founded in 2007, is a leading developmental disability service supplier to the cruise industry. 

The goal of this program is to provide the highest quality of assisted care to ensure families have a truly relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. 

Photo Credit: Autism on the Seas Facebook

Volunteers from Autism on the Seas make it possible for these families to have a vacation like no other by providing attentive, personalized care throughout their cruise.

While most cruisers have never heard of this awesome program, we are excited to share an insider perspective through one volunteer’s personal experience.

Meet Sydney: Volunteer on Autism on the Seas

As Royal Caribbean Blog fans, you might remember my cruising buddy, Sydney, from a recent Radiance of the Seas live blog to Alaska. Sydney and I were roommates on Semester of the Sea back in college, sailing 100 days to 4 continents while taking classes. 

When we sailed to Alaska, Sydney told me about her upcoming volunteer opportunity on Enchantment of the Seas. I couldn’t wait to share her experience with the program - even though I’ve cruised more than 30 times with Royal Caribbean, I had never heard of Autism on the Seas.

As you can imagine, volunteers for Autism on the Seas need to be highly qualified to provide the necessary and attentive care to those with special needs. Sydney first learned of the program back in college and was excited to apply, but she wasn’t accepted initially due to not having enough experience. 

The program encouraged her to apply again in the future, especially if she completed her master’s and had more experience in the special needs field. 

After Sydney graduated with her degree in Psychology & Childhood Studies, she completed her master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorder from George Mason University. 

With more experience under her belt, Sydney reapplied to be a volunteer and was accepted. Once accepted, she applied to multiple itineraries and was offered a contract for a sailing on Enchantment of the Seas. 

This sailing was a 6-night Bermuda cruise with two overnights in Kings Wharf, Bermuda

Since Sydney was accepted into the program, she can now continue applying for future volunteer opportunities with the program.

How Autism on the Seas Helps All Special Needs Families

Just like we all need some vacation time, families who have special needs children also undeniably deserve to have an amazing cruise experience. Unfortunately for these families, it’s inherently more difficult to have a relaxing vacation when you have a child who requires special care. 

The program is not limited to autism, as any disability or special need is welcome to the program. There is no age limit, although most families have children or young adults. 

Photo Credit: Autism on the Seas Facebook

Autism on the Seas helps families by providing assistance on many cruise lines, but most commonly partners with Royal Caribbean. Families book their cruises through Autism on the Seas, which acts as a travel agency by organizing and planning everything for families.

Since this was Sydney’s first cruise with the program, she was assigned as a general volunteer to really get to know the program. Families are also able to request a one-on-one volunteer if they feel that would be more beneficial. While general volunteers float across families as needed, one-on-one volunteers are assigned to a single family and assist throughout the entire cruise. 

Volunteers offer respite sessions throughout the cruise, which allows parents to drop off their participants in a safe space. This gives parents and family members the opportunity to have some alone time.

The program provides assistance for three meals a day where volunteers are present to provide aid to families.

During sea days, two respite sessions are offered for around two hours each. Port days offer one respite session in addition to staff-supported shore excursions. The respite sessions are hosted in a safe space on the cruise ship; on Sydney’s specific cruise, this was in the conference center onboard.

Sydney’s Volunteer Preparation

In the months leading up to the cruise, Sydney was able to download the Autism on the Seas app to complete necessary training. The app had a checklist of tasks to complete as well. 

Transportation and accommodations before the cruise are not provided for volunteers, although volunteers get their cruise fare covered through the program. Because of this, Sydney applied exclusively for cruises that left from Baltimore since that is the closest port to her home in Virginia. 

Like any other Royal Caribbean cruiser, Sydney needed a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding. 

Read moreGuide to pre-cruise Covid test

The night before boarding, Sydney received an unexpected call that one of the other volunteers tested positive for her pre-departure test. That staff member was originally assigned to be a one-on-one volunteer with a specific family. 

Because she was unable to cruise now, Sydney was told by the program director that she would now be placed with the family and provide one-on-one care for the cruise.

On the day of embarkation, Autism on the Seas volunteers had a three-hour training to complete before meeting with the families. Those traveling with Autism on the Seas receive priority boarding as a perk and volunteers help families with luggage and embarkation. Families also receive priority disembarkation, which is staff assisted. 

Most families on this cruise had to reschedule multiple times due to the pandemic; therefore, this was a highly anticipated vacation by the five families cruising with Autism on the Seas this week. 

Cruising Support for Families 

Sydney said on the first night, before the first respite session, all of the volunteers decorated the conference center to be a welcoming, fun, and comfortable space for the kids. The program provides specific activities catering to each child’s needs and interests, making it a very personalized experience for each family. 

Kids are encouraged to spend respite sessions however they want. For example, if they want to be on their tablets during this time, that’s fine. Sydney said the volunteers are not there to teach anything, but rather provide care in a safe space. 

During evening respite sessions, the parents are able to attend the nightly entertainment in reserved seating while their children are under the volunteers’ care. The volunteers also help with activities throughout the cruise, like staff-assisted pool time.

Because Enchantment of the Seas is an older and smaller ship, the only ship activities in the schedule included rock climbing and trampoline jumping. 

Unfortunately, these were both under maintenance during Sydney’s cruise, so the volunteers had to get creative with assisted activities. Adventure Ocean staff even joined a few of the respite sessions to help the kids make slime and host a basketball tournament. 

While in Bermuda, the program offered a staff-assisted excursion to the beach. This allowed the parents and families to relax while volunteers spent time with the kids in and out of the water. Sydney said it warmed her heart seeing her assigned family having a truly relaxing beach day because she was providing care for their child. 

Before the cruise ended, the program hosted a Silent Hush Party with Royal Caribbean’s nightclub DJ. With headphones available for everyone, Sydney loved how this private event was available for the families. 

On the final night of the cruise, all of the individuals with Autism on the Seas received an award.  

Royal Caribbean Staff Elevate Experience

During her cruise, Sydney was blown away by the service provided from Royal Caribbean’s crew and staff. In fact, Sydney was so impressed with their attentive care that she wondered if crew members receive training on handling special needs children and certain situations onboard.

Most of the crew knew about the program and what it offers. Sydney said once the crew members spotted the program’s notorious orange t-shirts, many of them were excited to take care of the families and provide exceptional assistance. 

During dinner, Sydney said the waitstaff provided extremely personal service to the families as they learned more specifically about each family’s needs. 

Photo Credit: Autism on the Seas Facebook

For example, the waiters learned that Sydney’s family had a child who loved to play with straws - by the second night, the dinner table had plenty of straws for him to play with. Once the waiters knew the child hated condiments on his meals, Sydney said they were sure to respect this every night.

If one of the kids had a meltdown or made a mess, Sydney said the crew members would step in and provide assistance wherever they could. They offered additional support by going above and beyond. Sydney said their exceptional service made it easier to do her job as a volunteer. 

Photo Credit: Autism on the Seas Facebook

On the last night of her cruise, Sydney’s waiter was overcome with emotion and brought to tears when it was time to say goodbye. He was so grateful to meet everyone, especially learning more about the program and providing their dining service each night.

He even opened up about his niece in India that is diagnosed with Autism and could not wait to tell his sister about this program when connecting to WiFi again. 

Sydney mentioned that a common theme throughout the week was people coming up to her and opening up about a family member diagnosed with autism and how they would thrive with this program. She hopes more families learn about all the program has to offer.

Volunteer Arrangements and Daily Schedule

Autism on the Seas volunteers normally cruise in an inside cabin with one other volunteer, who could be either the same or opposite gender. 

Before the pandemic, the volunteers were normally assigned in a cabin with three other roommates. To reduce some of the risk, volunteers are only assigned one roommate currently. 

In Sydney’s experience, most volunteers with Autism on the Seas had cruised multiple times with the program, which shows how rewarding the experience can be for staffers.

Sydney was assigned a roommate of the same gender, who she described as very sweet and easy-going. All volunteers welcomed Sydney as a newcomer to the program and were eager to share their prior experiences. 

Volunteers typically work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with free time here and there. During the free time, volunteers can do whatever they want. As such, volunteers enjoyed the cruise ship most evenings by grabbing a drink at one of the lounges. Volunteers can also get off the ship at port during their free time.

Most nights, Sydney was tired from working all day, so she opted to rest when she was able. 

Her and her roommate also had a medical scare when they both started feeling rundown. Sydney brought a COVID home test onboard, which came back negative.

The program leader also requested that the medical staff test both her and her roommate the following day, which was promptly done by the ship doctor coming to their cabin, and confirming that neither had Covid. 

Because everyone is a volunteer, all of the staff members were passionate to provide attentive care to the families. Sydney said it was obvious that all staff members wanted to be there, which is a key part of making this program successful. 

Sydney’s Final Thoughts

With her love of travel and extensive experience with special needs children, Sydney was eager to volunteer with Autism on the Seas. 

She found her volunteer experience to be both eye-opening and extremely rewarding. Although the days were intensive, very long and a lot of work, Sydney said she’s grateful she had the opportunity to volunteer. 

With the bright orange t-shirts, it’s hard to miss the volunteers working during a cruise. Sydney hopes more Royal Caribbean cruisers know about the program in the future, as she was often approached with people asking questions and staring while she was caring for the child. 

Because these families are looking to have a normal cruise experience like everyone else, she’s hoping more people learn about the program and understand all it has to offer. 

By the end of the cruise, Sydney said the families told the volunteers they were angels on earth. They were over the moon with their cruise experience and so grateful for Autism on the Seas, saying they will never cruise without the program again.

Sydney said hearing this made the long days worth it, as she knew she was making a difference and helping each family member make lifelong memories.

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Why Cruises are Great for People with Anxiety

03 Nov 2021

I recently shared extra tips to help prepare for a cruise in the case that you have anxiety, and several comments from readers really hit home. So many people in the US, and globally, suffer from anxiety and other mental illnesses, and this can make vacation planning so tough. 

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Why, though, if you have anxiety, would you want to plan a vacation where you’re essentially stuck on a ship full of people in the middle of the ocean? Let’s break down together the reason why this is actually a DREAM vacation, and not a nightmare scenario.


Let’s start with the big one:  money.

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me feel more anxious than big expenses. Vacation is one of those--it’s one of the few times a year we get to escape work, kick back, and not think about real life, so we want to make it as enjoyable and memorable as possible--and that costs money.

When we were “land-tripping,” we’d save up for our trips, but because we had to open our wallet at every stop (gas station or flight, hotel, restaurant, tourist trap, etc), the anxiety about how much we were spending never left me. I was constantly calculating how much we were spending, ordering the cheapest thing on the menu, forgoing that glass of wine with a romantic dinner, skipping out on places we wanted to go because it was the end of the trip and we were cashed out. 

How Do Cruise Lines Make Money? | Royal Caribbean Blog

With a cruise, we start planning at least a year in advance. A deposit goes down, and we can set a payment plan and add it to our monthly budget right up until Final Payment Date.

Along the way, there are sales on excursions, drink packages, internet, etc that we watch out for. That way, we don’t have to buy everything all at once.

We also usually put it on a credit card, so we can earn points. By this point (I have under a month left to my next cruise!), the only thing I have left to pay for are some cruise wardrobe refreshes, and toiletries.

Once I get on the ship, we will carry cash to tip our favorite bartenders and waitstaff (most gratuities are included), and we will have a few minor expenditures in port, but mostly, there aren’t any money worries. I can totally relax in that sense.


Oasis Class | Royal Caribbean Blog

While we are on the subject of planning, you can do as much of that before the trip that you want, as well.

Like I said, there are always sales for excursions well in advance of the cruise, so we will sit down and figure out what we want to do in port. Is it a beach stop, like Coco Cay & Labadee; or a tour port like San Juan? Do we want to just walk around and do our own thing, or actually purchase an excursion? We are even staying on ship for one of the ports this time. 

How to plan your cruise vacation for when Royal Caribbean resumes sailing | Royal Caribbean Blog

There’s also plenty of activities on ship too! You can plan a trip to the spa, or a galley tour. What shows do you want to see? Some entertainment you can’t fully schedule beforehand, but looking at past Cruise Compasses from similar sailings can help you feel less overwhelmed by all the activities when you are onboard.

Remember, your Sea Day plans can always change. Leave some room for spontaneity--you may end up spending 3 hours drinking chocolate martinis on the Rising Tide with a fellow cruiser, instead of going to that trivia game you planned on...not that I know from experience or anything. 

There's more space than you think

Everything you wanted to know about Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The number one thing I hear from fellow anxious travelers, when I mention cruising, is this:  “I could never do that, I’d be so claustrophobic, being surrounded by water, on a boat with thousands of other people.” And I cannot blame them, because that’s exactly what I thought when Mr. Mills approached me with the idea for our first cruise. But these ships are huge. Small cities, really.

Royal Caribbean is a master of traffic control, so there are very few times you will be in a crowd. There’s only two times I can think of when I have felt overwhelmed by a crowd on a ship: 

  1. Muster Drill, which was in the Pre-COVID days when we all had to gather in the same area for the safety information. Now it’s on your phone, so that is no more
  2. Getting off the ship first thing in the morning on a busy port day. That’s easily remedied by waiting an hour or two after the gangplank opens, but Mr. Mills and I are early risers, so I mostly just grin and bear it. 

Photo Tour of Owners Suite stateroom on Rhapsody of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

As for the ocean, it was a little intimidating the first time out. We like to keep the live ship tracking map up in our stateroom, so we can see where we are. This helps because I can see what islands are around us at any time. You almost always can see other ships off in the distance too, so you rarely feel alone.

By the end of that first cruise, I was totally in love, and now I find the ocean so peaceful. I crave that peace when I’m away from it, and it’s been a VERY long 2 years.

Travel with a home base

Cruising is one of only two vacations that I know of (RVing being the other), where you travel with your own home base.

Imagine visiting three different countries in a week, but never having to move hotel rooms, drive between them, check customs between each country, etc. Instead, you have one giant floating all-inclusive resort that takes you there.

So often with anxiety, we get in our heads that these big trips aren’t worth it, because they are so overwhelming. But because you have a place to go back and rest, it makes it so easy! There are often days where I will go out to port in the morning, come back and take a nap, and then find some fun activity to do in the afternoon before dinner. 

Staff prepared to help you

The top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Lastly, Royal Caribbean’s staff is the absolute best I’ve ever come across in the service industry. They make you feel at ease from the moment you step into the terminal. If you have any concern, they will do everything they can to put it to rights.

As anxious people, we naturally have a tendency to avoid asking questions or causing a stir if something isn’t to our liking, but I have found every single person to be extraordinarily helpful and genuinely kind. The staff wants you to enjoy your vacation, and they will do what they can to make that happen. 

Live on Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship to restart from the United States | Royal Caribbean Blog

I did not want to go on our first cruise. I tried to get Mr. Mills to book an all-inclusive resort instead, but we had a special deal for Royal Caribbean. I was so nervous, and was sure I was going to be miserably anxious and overwhelmed the entire time. I came out of that experience not only happy we went, but absolutely in love with cruising.

In my opinion, it is the best vacation someone with an anxiety condition can take, because there’s so much preparation that is done to make sure you have a good time. Give cruising a chance, and come back and tell me how it goes! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Extra tips to prepare for a cruise if you have anxiety

07 Oct 2021

Most people have lots of questions when they plan their first cruise, but some people have the added concern of mental health conditions like anxiety and/or panic disorders, which makes planning a vacation pretty challenging.

Anxiety isn’t just being nervous to do something--it creates strong feelings of insecurity and worry over every detail, and can lead to terrifying and painful panic attacks. According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated 275 million people suffer from anxiety disorders. That's around 4% of the global population, with a spread of between 2.5% and 6.5% of population per country.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

The goal for every vacation is to relieve as much of that extra stress as possible, so I've listed some tips tailored for those who experience anxiety, to help make cruise planning much more accessible!

Watch videos about your ship! 

Photo Tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Are you nervous about your first cruise? Maybe you’re worried about feeling trapped and claustrophobic, or the opposite--overwhelmed at how huge the ship is.

I’ll admit to feeling both when I was planning my first cruise (I even asked my husband if we could just do a land vacation instead). So I started watching everything I could about cruises, every YouTube video I could find.

More: Check out RoyalCaribeanBlog's YouTube Channel!

Nine things I loved, hated and was surprised by on Quantum of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

By embarkation day, I had the deck plans nearly memorized; I knew what food I was going to order at what restaurant; what drink I would order first. I probably went a bit overboard (no pun intended), but it turned my nerves into excitement.

Podcasts like the one we have here at are great resources to prepare, too!

Avoid reviews

Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

While I recommend researching the ship, watching the heck out of videos to get the lay of the land (sea?)--reviews are another beast altogether.

For someone with anxiety, reviews can totally scare us away from a potentially amazing vacation. We tend to zoom in on negativity, but it’s good to remember that the cruise industry is meant to be tailor made for your own experience.

What I wish I did differently on my first cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are having a difficulty, bring it up to a staff member and it will be corrected right away! Instead, try reputable, well rounded cruise bloggers like Sheri at and Billy at, both with Youtube channels. They will share tips, thoughts on different cruise lines (#loyaltoroyal), and all the information you need to know about the industry!

Read moreTrying to answer the most common Royal Caribbean question

Buy the drink package

Royal Caribbean offering up to 35% off Cruise Planner purchases with Seas the Deals sale | Royal Caribbean Blog

On land, my husband and I only have a drink or two a week, but we let loose on vacation.

Bloody Marys in the morning, frozen concoctions on the beach, wine at dinner, and cocktails afterward. It adds up, and we always are busier than we expect to be (with a cocktail in hand, of course)!

Royal Caribbean drink package rules overview | Royal Caribbean Blog

Buying the drink package before boarding allows us to budget in advance, then relax on ship. A swipe of a wristband, and that’s it. No calculating how much we’ve spent, how much to tip, etc. Gratuities are prepaid, and we don’t have to carry cards or cash around.

The point is to relax without panicking about money all the time.

Read more: Royal Caribbean drink package information

Balance out port stops

Empress of the Seas Live Blog Day 4 - Cozumel, Mexico | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are so many itineraries to choose from--it can be a little overwhelming at first. There really is something for everyone!

For your first cruise, especially for those of us with a tendency to get overstimulated, I recommend choosing a trip that balances busy port stops with rest days. Rest days don’t necessarily have to mean sea days, where you don’t leave the ship, but could also mean relaxing on the beach!

Paradise Beach Cozumel 2021 shore excursion review | Royal Caribbean Blog

For example, I love an itinerary where Mr. Mills and I go on a walking tour or do some activity, and then the next day we have a beach bed on Coco Cay or Labadee. It’s a wonderful balance of busy and relaxation! 

Read moreRoyal Caribbean itinerary recommendations for first-time cruisers

Don’t count out a nap

Don’t count out a good afternoon nap. This is vacation, after all, and there’s no shame in hitting the snooze.

Sometimes we will take a morning excursion, and then head back to the ship where I can lay down for a nap in the afternoon. Mr. Mills wanders off to do whatever Mr. Mills does, while I can recharge for the night’s activities. 

Don’t try to do it all

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean’s ships are like mini cities: There are all kinds of activities on board:  Flowriders, Ziplines, iFly, Broadway Shows, Bars, Dining, Shopping, Pool and Jacuzzis, Gyms, Spas, etc.

The choices are limitless on what you can do each day. But, just because you can choose from anything, doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Every evening, you’ll receive a Cruise Compass newsletter for the next day. Go through it and mark any activity that looks fun to you, and then breeze through the next day and hit a few of them. If you miss a trivia? It is not the end of the world! You were doing something else that captured your attention.

First time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Compass | Royal Caribbean Blog

Cruising is all about taking the moments that are important to you, and not what the schedule says.

Read moreFirst time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Compass

Don't worry

Do's & Don'ts of Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

I know, I know, this is the worst thing to tell a person with anxiety. But, I promise you, cruising is the best vacation for us.

Before I started cruising, I was never able to relax while traveling. Something was always going to go wrong, or change, or I was obsessing about how much I was paying for each drink, meal, activity in my head as we went along.

With a cruise, all that work is done before you set sail. And much of it is fun to do--choosing itineraries, excursions, dining, it all becomes exciting once you fall in love with cruising.

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Then the countdown hit the "Double Digit Dance" (99 days or less), and then it’s embarkation day! Can you imagine a week with no worries except what to order off the menu?

Cruising for the first time can be a little intimidating, but I recommend it to everyone I meet. To me, it’s the perfect vacation. I can plan and pay for everything in advance, and then completely relax once on ship. I can be totally alone, or meet new people. My trip can be full of action, or I can hang out by the pool and read a book.

Cruising allows you to do anything you want to do, every day, for your entire vacation. The options are almost limitless. I hope you find you enjoy the experience as much as we do.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Wheelchair accessibility on Royal Caribbean

15 Aug 2018

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Royal Caribbean is known for many things, including being one of the most wheelchair accessible cruises line out there.  On this week’s episode, I’ll be discussing the important tips, tricks and secrets to going on a Royal Caribbean cruise if you or someone in your group is using a wheelchair. 

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Royal Caribbean will begin offering Autism Channel on cruise ships

30 Sep 2015

In a webcast to travel agents, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service Vicki Freed announced Royal Caribbean will begin offering the Autism Channel on its cruise ships to meet the needs of its special needs cruisers.

The new program will begin late October 2015 on Quantum, Oasis, Freedom, Voyager and Radiance class ships.

The Autism Channel will be available via the on-demand section in guests' stateroom televisions.  There will be TV shows and short programs for children and parents.  

There will be over 35 different episodes available, ranging from 4-30 minutes in length.  Some episodes are about an hour as well.

Royal Caribbean will be the first in the hospitality industry to offer complimentary on-demand tv access to this sort of special needs programming.

10/01 UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has released more details about its Autism programming aboard its ships.

Some of the programs available for viewing are:  

  • I Am Autistic with Daniel Heinlein – Diagnosed with Asperger's as a teenager, Daniel Heinlein talks about autism with doctors, researchers, and others on the spectrum.
  • Dr. Judy – A board-certified developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Judith Aranson-Ramos, MD talks about early diagnosis and treatment for people on the spectrum.
  • Real Look Autism – From renowned executive producer Mary Beth Marsden, an unfiltered look at ASD children and their progress.
  • Direct From Autism Service Dogs America – Follow a therapy dog's journey from selection through life as a working dog.
  • The Rocket Family Chronicles – A mockumentary about the life and times of Rocket, an on-the-spectrum filmmaker and his unique family.
  • Cooking with Jana – Gluten and Casein free cooking with Chef Jana McMahon, featuring easy to make recipes low in allergens.

Programming will be initially offered in English as well as closed captioned for guests who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

“The Autism Channel is delighted that Royal Caribbean has chosen to make this valuable content available on many Royal Caribbean ships. For every one person on the autism spectrum there are six more persons directly impacted by that person. Complimentary access to The Autism Channel’s exclusive content will benefit many Royal Caribbean guests and bring more awareness to Autism,” said Jeffrey A. Kasky, president, The Autism Channel.

Special Needs Group adds Royal Caribbean ships to its ship accessibility index

15 Jul 2013

Special Needs Group has announced it is adding all accessible ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet to its Web portal/accessibility content resource.  Included in the index is Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, which launches in November 2014.

The Special Needs Group portal offers detailed cruise ship accessibility features and provides helpful information including:

  • Number of accessible staterooms
  • Accessible stateroom features
  • Food & Beverage venues accessibility
  • Recreational facilities accessibility
  • And more

The Royal Caribbean accessibility information launches today with sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises later this month.

For Quantum of the Seas, the portal lists 34 accessible staterooms, which have have wider doors, roll-in showers, grab bars and turning spaces.  The ship also features braille/tactile public room signage, amplified phones, lowered counters at select locations and more.

SNG President and CEO Andrew Garnett said, "By continuing to add ships/cruise lines to our accessibility content resource, we're reinforcing our corporate responsibility to help educate travel professionals, as well as the traveling public, that individuals with special needs have the ability to travel now more than ever before. The content that we create and provide is mainly informational as opposed to commercially-driven, allowing individuals with special needs to choose the most appropriate ship/cruise for them."

Vegan cruising experience on Royal Caribbean

03 Aug 2010

Anyone with a special dietary restriction knows that traveling and sticking to your diet is never easy but Charu Suri posted about her experience on a three night Royal Caribbean cruise that she took to the Bahamas and shared her experience of eating vegan while on Royal Caribbean.

Going into the cruise, Suri was worried that the options for her on board would be very limited, to the point that she'd have to eat the same boring meals every day.  Moreover, she wondered if they'd even have vegan friendly alternatives, such as soy milk instead of regular milk.

As soon as Suri was onboard, her fears were dismissed after seeing how closely the Royal Caribbean chefs were not only monitoring her dietary needs but responding to them, "The chefs on board were more aware of my dietary needs than I had given them credit for. Before long, I was feasting on Indian dishes, delicately-flavored al dente pasta and crisp, almost "farm to table" quality salads."

Suri did run into a "problem" with dessert.  Before long she was getting sick of the usual offerings and decided to ask to see if there was anything else available. She asked the Head Waiter and the very next day, she had a special dessert prepared for her based on her vegan needs.

According to a 2008 Vegetarian Times survey, around 3.8% of the American population was vegetarian, and around 0.5% was vegan.  Based on her experience, it seems eating vegan on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a very practical possibility.

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