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Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Autism on the Seas

June 18, 2014 | Family Resource Navigator

Think a family vacation is impossible?

Imagine taking a family vacation where you can relax and have fun, knowing that your child with autism is relaxing and having fun too!

We want to make that dream a reality for your family.

VIA is spearheading a community trip on an Autism on the Seas Cruise!

Here are the top 10 things you need to know!

1. Set Sail in 2015!

The Royal Caribbean cruise will set sail from Baltimore on June 12, 2015 for 7 nights (VIA’s June break).

2. Familiar Shipmates

Anyone in the community can go, and not everyone on the ship will be traveling with a child with autism, but this will be a chance for families of children with special needs in our area to relax and have fun together!

3. Leave Your Worries Ashore

The ship is staffed with a fleet of highly-trained professional caregivers who will provide respite for your child. The team is led by Rachel Potter, a BCBA who has a son with autism (she has traveled with Autism on the Seas both as a staff member and as a vacationer).

4. Special Care, On and Off Deck

In addition to respite care (with extra hours of respite on days at sea), Autism on the Seas families get priority boarding and staff assistance, private family portrait sessions, reserved seating at shows and parades, and private activity sessions (like rock climbing, ice skating, beach excursions and more) with support staff!

5. Not Just for Young Sailors

Autism on the Seas is for both children and adults with autism. Programming is designed based on the individual!

6. Your child won’t eat anything but Pirate’s Booty brand popcorn? No problem!

Tell them ahead of time, and the cruise staff will stock your child’s favorite foods for your journey! The ship also offers casein-free and gluten-free meal plans.

7. Excursions, Entertainment and Easy Livin’

You and your family can participate in all the usual programming of a Royal Caribbean cruise! The ship visits Port Canaveral (a Disney property), Nassau and CocoCay!

8. An All-Inclusive Voyage

Autism on the Seas is the same price as a regular cruise, and respite care and all other support services are provided for free!

9. The Larger the Fleet, the Lower the Cost

The more people in a room, the cheaper a family’s voyage (pricing starts at roughly $3,700 for a family of 4, including taxes and fees). Financial assistance may be available through Autism on the Seas. Contact Hilary Nagel for an application.

10. You Won’t Embark Alone

Other VIA families and families from our community will be there to support you and celebrate with you on this fun family vacation!

We understand that every family has different needs and concerns.

Our Family Resource Navigator, Hilary Nagel, is excited to talk to you about Autism on the Seas. She is ready to answer your questions and set your mind at ease. Email Hilary or call her at 434-923-8252.

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Tags: Autism on the Seas, Help, Hilary Nagel, parent support, partnership, respite, sibling support, siblings, support, VIA On the Move

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