Why Cruise Vacations Are Ideal For Kids With Autism

For so many of us, vacations are essential. With the number of Americans embarking on family vacations set to top the charts this year at almost 100 million.

Vacations offer a welcome break from the monotony of the day-to-day but when you have a child with autism, breaking from the usual routine can lead to confusion and frustration. A way to combine your child’s needed routine with a fun holiday experience is opting for a cruise ship vacation.

Benefits of Cruising

Cruise vacations offer autism-friendly interactive initiatives for families, including sensory friendly toys, films, dietary menu options and overall autism-friendly activities.

They will also cater the needs of your family by offering priority check-in, boarding and departure, dietary accommodations including gluten-free and dairy-free and phones/pagers for parents of children while signed into child minding programs.

Establishing Your Vacation Routine

One of the best features of a cruise vacation is that all of the scheduling is preplanned so that you’ll know exactly what to expect. This offers an opportunity to set expectations early on and prepare your child for the change in his/her regular schedule.

Child Friendly Activities

Many cruises offer kid friendly activities for children and family members on board. Not only does this aid in devising a precise plan for your trip in advance, it also offers the opportunity for your child to partake in fun activities while building their social skills.

Activities such as swimming, arts and crafts and treasure hunts cater to all types of children. These activities can help those with autism practice skills like speech, fine motor skills and cognitive processing. Many of the on-board kids clubs and activities allow parents and family members to get involved, so you’re able to join in on the fun and supervise where needed.

Incorporating PECS

For many children with ASD who use PECS to plan and communicate, vacationing on a cruise is a great opportunity to prepare and introduce photos well in advance. Having an image of a cruise ship or a photo of a beach for when you’ll be hanging on the beach or exploring an island.  Photos are a great way to prepare your child for the change in routine.


If you’re nervous about all of the planning involved in organizing your next vacation and worry about a dramatic change in routine, opting for a cruise holiday could be a great option. The preplanned schedules enable families to get ahead and provide a fun family holiday for everyone.

Author: Jackie Edwards

After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues. Both her children are on the autistic spectrum and Jackie also presents with signs of ASD too.