Originally posted by dandjwarner:
I am going in Dec. and have a newly adopted son that is developmentally disabled. He has lived with us longer so we know he well.So my question is what would be the best excurions for limited abilities? Just a short decription of the disablity limitations: he is 15 and is what is considered medium to higher functioning. He walks on his own but has a little trouble with balance. As far as mentally he is on about the same level as a 5-7 year old. For the most part a happy go lucky kid Very eager to try new things. I had tought about Dunn's River Falls but did not know if it would be worth the money if you didn't do the hike.
We are also having to pinch pennies so we are looking for the best value. We planned and payed for the cruise before the adoption was complete. Since we adopted the fiancial assistance we were getting for caring for a child with a disability has been cut completly out so that is leaving us a little strapped on cash for the extra such as excursions. I just don't want to sound cheap or anything like that.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
First of all, bless your heart for caring for this wonderful child. I am the mother of a 15 year son that has a form of autism. He was also born with ataxia so he is very clumsey. He to is very happy go lucky,too, and has traveled with us all over the world.
We usually don't do "excursions" because we have to stay "flexible" with his needs.
We have been to Jamaica a couple of times. Jamaica is the only port that I only do ship tours on. I have just never felt comfortable on that port on our own. I also would not recommend Dunn's River Falls. Mainly because it is so crowded and commercialized. However, I do remember a wonderful ship tour we took years ago. It was riding on a bamboo raft for 2 on the "Great River" (actually the size of a good size creek...not deep) . The guide for each raft uses a pole to push you along. The currents are not to fast but enough to give you that "feeling of excitement". This was a ship tour. Sorry I can't remember how much it was. Afterward they took you to a rum tasting session and had a young man climb a coconut tree to retrieve and share a coconut.
Grand Cayman- I wish our son would do the Sting Ray, but he won't get in water. We usually just end up walking around in Grand Cayman. It is a very safe port. If you want a beach day there you can grab a taxi to Seven Mile beach. Our son loves the beach and loves to shop.
Cozumel - definately a beach day at Paradise Beach. We have been several times (including last month) and will be heading there again in December. The taxi is $12-14 (depending on where you dock or tender into) one way for 4 people. At Paradise Beach, you can use the lounge chairs, tables and shade for free. They just ask that you drink and/or eat something. They have an option (it is not required) of $9 for a wristband to use their non-motorized toys all day. (kayaks, iceberg, water trampoline, floats,life vests and snorkeling equipment ~they require a $10 deposit that is refunded when the snorkel equipment is returned).
In the past, our special needs son (who loves the beach and plays at the waters edge) has not gotten a wristband because he would not get into the water. Hubby and I do not get one, because we just lay in the shade. Our oldest son gets the wristband and has a ball. However, our special needs son said he is getting the wristband in December...so we will see.
We have had wonderful experiences with Camp Carnival and (now that he is 15) Club O2. Fortunately, our son has been able to stay with his age group without a problem. If you do not feel this is the case with your son, contact the Disabilities division at Carnival (or ask your TA to) and see what accommodations can be made for him while you are on board. Perhaps they will allow him to stay in the 12 -14 year old group on his own some...if you feel comfortable. I don't know if they would allow him to go down as low as the 9-11 age group or not.
Remember that even 9-11 year olds do things like a scavenger hunt where groups of kids unsupervised roam the ship for short periods of time. We never allowed our son to do that. We would simply pick him up from Camp Carnival before that particular activity began. Our son also does not swim. So if they were having a pool party, I made sure that I was there to watch him. I did not feel like it was fair to put that burden on the staff with all the other children there.
They will give you a Caper with all the detailed activities for the week, (time and place) so that you can pick and choose which activities you may want him to participate in. I see you are going on the Conquest, I know the Assistant Cruise Director on there and Sarah is WONDERFUL.
Where Camp Carnival is concerned, please know that the Camp staff do have the final say about placement. It all depends on how they "read" the situation, the number of children in each group etc. Our son has been on 14 cruises so far (on 13 different ships) and have received excellent care...however, we have always stayed realistic in our expectations.
See what info you get from the Corporate office disabilities division and then go to the Camp Carnival orientation on embarkation night (usually about 7PM) and meet with the staff.
The embarkation night is all family stuff to allow the children a chance to be around the staff with Mom and Dad there. The Camp Carnival for kids only starts at 9AM the next morning.
Everything is free up to 10PM, after that they offer a babysitting service that is $6 an hour until 3AM.
If I can help in any way, please let me know.