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Royal Caribbean and Autism on the Seas

Yesterday's story about the little autistic girl and a man with a heart came along at just the right time. Today's news is that Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to be certified by Autism on the Seas.

What does that mean?

It means that Royal Caribbean's ships, all 21 of them, are autism friendly.

And what does "autism friendly" mean?

That means when autistic or developmentally challenged people board a Royal Caribbean ship they will find that the ship and its people are ready for them. Autism on SeasThey'll have access to priority boarding, to their dietary needs, to autism-friendly movies and — if they're kids — to toys and stories and activities that are tailored for them.

Royal Caribbean's ships are certified "bronze." Silver certification is expected to happen later this year with gold and diamond on the horizon. All three have to do with increased levels of staff training.

Next week is the first "Cruise With Staff" on Serenade of the Seas, from New Orleans to Key West and the Bahamas. These cruises provide coordinating activities and an enhanced comfort level for individuals with not just autism but also with other cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities (like Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy).

Autism on the Seas participates in such cruises with other lines, too — Disney, Celebrity and Carnival — and has been assisting developmentally challenged cruisers with Royal Caribbean for seven years.

On Friday, its 21 ships all won "bronze medals."

Carnival Miracle
7 nights
March 29, 2014
Long Beach (return): Cabo San LucasPuerto Vallarta
Inside: $629
Cost per day: $89

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