Target: Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean cruise line
Goal: Support autism-friendly travel options recently made available to families
Royal Caribbean cruise lines is the first to be named “autism-friendly” by the leading travel organization Autism on the Seas. This popular cruise line, coupling with Autism on the Seas, has created programs and policies that accommodate passengers with disabilities. Applaud Royal Caribbean for including persons with disabilities in the services they offer vacationers. Encourage other cruise lines to follow this example by implementing the same programs so that all people, including those who have autism, will be able to enjoy traveling.
Changes in routine can be incredibly difficult for people with autism, making travel especially challenging. Following guidelines set by Autism on the Seas, Royal Caribbean has implemented several new programs to facilitate easier travel for people with autism. Specialized youth programs and trained daycare staff now cater to the needs of children with autism. The kitchen also offers gluten-free options and dairy-free options for children with special dietary needs, as these particular food-allergies often co-occur with autism.
Another way Royal Caribbean makes travel easier on children with autism is by offering a book that explains and illustrates what children can expect when they arrive for their cruise. Parents can read this book to their children and talk about what will happen on the cruise in order to better prepare their child for the novel experience.
Movie theaters aboard the cruise ship will also offer lights-up screenings, and open policies that allow people with autism to move about freely during the show, placing no penalty on those who vocalize during the movie. The cruise line is also considering additional measures to accommodate persons with autism. They are hoping to implement less stressful boarding and disembarkation procedures for those with autism, to make this transition easier on the individual, their family, and Royal Caribbean staff.
Mike Sobbell, founder and president of Autism on the Seas, had this to say about the changes: “We’ve been doing this for seven years now and what we’ve all learned is that there are so many families out there that don’t think [a cruise vacation] is an option for them. But it’s actually very easy to adapt a cruise to special needs. And it’s one of the only destinations where you have so many different things contained in the same space.” Support the changes adopted by Royal Caribbean cruise line, and encourage other cruise lines to implement the same simple strategies to make their services accessible to people with autism.
Dear Adam Goldstein,
I would like to extend my sincerest thanks for your recent efforts to make your cruises more accessible to individuals with autism and their families. Autism can make travel very difficult, if not impossible, especially without the right support systems in place for people with special needs. Thanks to your efforts, people with autism, and their families, have the opportunity to experience all that your cruise line has to offer to travelers.
Helping people with autism through the challenges that come along with change in routine can greatly impact their ability to enjoy travel and novel activities. Providing books and information ahead of time that is relevant to children with autism helps parents to prepare them for the events that will take place during their cruise, easing the transition. Training staff to care for people with special needs is an incredible step in the right direction, offering support systems for families who want to share their travel experience with their loved one who has special needs.
Your efforts open doors for people with disabilities to live life to the fullest, and give a sense of security, normalcy and acceptance to their families. Thank you for partnering with Autism on the Sea, and encourage other cruise lines to do the same, to make no trip impossible for people with special needs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Roger Wollstadt via Flickr