Today’s passenger cruise ships are very accommodating to persons with special needs, and more kid-friendly than ever. Almost all ships offer supervised, age-appropriate activities for children plus menu options that appeal to young people, from pizza and hot dogs to ice cream and cupcakes. Flexible dining hours and multiple venues make it easier for families to dine together, or for parents to feed the children early and enjoy a quiet dinner alone later. Importantly, there are activities for your child throughout the day, and often into the evening.
If you are considering a cruise with your special needs child, here are a few tips to ensure smooth sailing.
Most lines have a designated number of accessible staterooms located through the ship. Book early for the best choice of cabin location and configuration. Whether you want to be near the elevator, or need a bathroom with safety rails on the right, booking early presents the most options.
Alert the line
An advance call also facilitates boarding and disembarking assistance. Rather than waiting in line, you may be eligible for priority boarding.
Arrive the day before
Flight delays and last minute “dashes” to the port are stressful. Arrive early. Relax.
Rent the equipment you need
Why haul a wheelchair, oxygen or other special needs equipment from home when it’s easy to have everything waiting for you in your stateroom? Special Needs Group provides pediatric wheelchairs, pediatric oxygen concentrators and flow meters, bed rails meant for children, and more, including beach wheelchairs. Make-A-Wish calls frequently to arrange for their traveling children. In addition to the equipment, we can also deliver baby formula, diapers, nutritional supplements such as PediaSure, and specific baby food directly to the ship.
Let your travel agent know precisely what your child will require while on the cruise—or call Special Needs Group direct. As a Preferred Supplier for the cruise lines and the only Preferred Accessibility Partner for Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry organization, Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea can make your cruise easier and more enjoyable.
We deliver the full range of special needs equipment to staterooms and cruise ships at ports around the world. We can even arrange equipment for your pre or post cruise land stay.
There are several organizations to help you learn more about cruising with special needs including the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (www.sath.org) and CLIA (www.cruising.org). CLICK HERE to find travel agents in your area who specialize in special needs travel, and start planning your cruise.