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  #141  
Old February 4th, 2013, 06:55 PM
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Just wanted to point out the information of two posters, one who was on the same cruise with the OP and one who sailed immediately after, posts #88 and #56.

In 88, the poster states that when arriving for pick up or drop off at "off hours", they witnessed NO crew members manning the drop off pick up door and sometimes 5 minutes would pass before they appeared.

If this is the case, then I can see how the 10 year old was able to simply able to walk out.

Poster 56 attests to procedures noted the week after the incident and MAY indicate a procedure change implemented after a review of the incident by NCL.
They report a total of 4 staff posted at the door. Also they toured the club and did not see any other exits.
Yeah let me update my statement - the week afterward was lockdown tight (security wise). I was traveling with a large number of kids so I asked their parents and we all said the same thing - that week was like trying to break our kids out of prison to get them out of that front gate.

HOWEVER - I asked my 12 year old if there was a back door for STAFF. She said there IS one in the 10-12 room and no alarm went off. But she didn't know where that door led to. According to her - it could have led to a "storage room or an office - or even out" - she couldn't see it.
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  #142  
Old February 4th, 2013, 07:47 PM
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Yeah let me update my statement - the week afterward was lockdown tight (security wise). I was traveling with a large number of kids so I asked their parents and we all said the same thing - that week was like trying to break our kids out of prison to get them out of that front gate.

HOWEVER - I asked my 12 year old if there was a back door for STAFF. She said there IS one in the 10-12 room and no alarm went off. But she didn't know where that door led to. According to her - it could have led to a "storage room or an office - or even out" - she couldn't see it.
I can't know for sure, but usually the staff only doors lead through a maze of stairways and small walkways that lead to primary traffic areas for staff - and always go to "I-95" (the crew super highway on low deck, usually #4). If a child could find their way through that, it would be pretty amazing AND crew would/should have certainly noticed a child in pajamas in a crew only area.
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  #143  
Old February 4th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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I truly hope that there is a secondary door - an emergency exit. I can't see how they couldn't possibly have another exit out of the kid's space. I remember the Epic entrance and it wasn't wide. To try and get 100's (or more) kids through that one swinging door could spell disaster if someone is panicked.

Now, with that said, one would think there would be some sort of alarm attached to an emergency door as well to alert staff if someone used it.
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  #144  
Old February 6th, 2013, 11:17 AM
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What are the educational requirements to work in a Norwegian Cruise Lines childcare area? Here is what RCI requires:

Kids will have a blast at our complimentary, award-winning Adventure Ocean® Youth Program. Every member of our youth team holds a four-year degree in education, recreation or a related field and has extensive experience working with children
I can say NCL did not have that requirement a few years ago. We were on a ferry in Bermuda with the head of the youth club on our NCL ship. My 19 year old daughter had been a counselor at a camp for 6 weeks and the worker offered her a job on NCL in the kids' club. She could have worked spring break, Christmas vacation, or whenever available. This was after (30 minutes). talking on the ferry from the Dockyard to St. George The worker very actively pursued her to work. She had completed her first year of college towards a business degree.
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  #145  
Old February 6th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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I would be very upset and afraid to leave a child with NCL. If this boy got away, any others could and possibly have that we will never know about. It seems NCL would pay to keep things silent.
Can you imagine the press if a child slipped out of a day care or school in your hometown?
On our NCL cruises, there were several occasions when staff did not show up for scheduled events. We joked freestyle meant staff showed up when and if they wanted to.
I find it appalling what happened and also the offer of money if the parents did not tell what happened.
I do think these things need to be discussed here so people know what can happen.
Epic failure for NCL!
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  #146  
Old February 6th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by lvz2cruz View Post
Can you imagine the press if a child slipped out of a day care or school in your hometown?
It'd be a story of sorts for a preschooler... but if a middle school child found their way home unhurt it wouldn't be. I think it happens occasionally. Schools cannot watch all of the children all of the time and are not designed to stop a child who really wants to "escape" unexpectedly.

The case is different here though. There is supposed to be a strict entry/exit control so NCL is at fault.
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  #147  
Old February 7th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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This was not a "little" kid. NCL goofed up somehow by allowing him to slip out.

But the parents need to take this as a wake up call. That once out that no one noticed him is not disturbing. DS is getting older and "strangers" won't know that they have to treat him differently or protect him. A 10 to 12YO wandering through the halls really is not something that I would find strange (even in his PJs). As he gets older this is going to be a bigger and bigger problem. A special needs adult, particularly one with little or no visable differences, will not be provided any special considerations - he needs to be prepared for life.
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  #148  
Old February 8th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Default kids slip out all the time

Schools are not locked down fortresses with buzzers going off if a child leaves. There are times when children leave the buildings and it may be some time before the teacher notices. If a child says they are using the restroom and they choose to leave by the side door, they may not be noticed for a while. Is the school at fault? I supposed technically they are. I have seen teacher run down the street after a child who was mentally ill or a huge behavior problem but what do they do if they catch them? Tackle them to the ground? Things happen and schools can't be responsible for everything that happens.

With this story, I think of Paul Harvey..."Now, for the rest of the story..."
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  #149  
Old February 13th, 2013, 10:44 PM
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I have to admit that I would be just as angry as OP had this happened to my child. Extra training on special needs and specifically autism are called for at NCL.

Have you considered going to the media with your story? In light of the bad publicity from the Carnival situation (fire and ship drifting), reporters might "bite" if you offered a story raising questions about special needs children and cruise ship safety. I'm a former reporter (home with my child now), and I would have pursued a story like yours.

Try your local newspaper or TV station. If you get local coverage, the story might spread to other news organizations.
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  #150  
Old February 15th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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I have 4 boys, ages 6,6,8,10. All of them are autistic. We have been on several cruises (next one coming up in April...woohoo) and I can certainly emphasize with your situation! I hope that you get the answers from the security tapes. It must have been terrifying for you to think your son escaped and made his way back to your room. I too would have been extremely angry. My sons are verbal as well but often cannot express ideas or retell a story about "what happened".
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  #151  
Old February 16th, 2013, 12:03 AM
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This is so black and white to me. NCL accepted the child into its program. They should, at the very least, keep the child in the program and safe.

Period.

This makes me think long and hard about kid's clubs, it really does.

I think the OP has every right to try to get NCL to figure out what went wrong and demand an action plan to fix it. We should all want this. I know I do.
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  #152  
Old February 24th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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To the OP - I can't even read all 8 pages in one go because some of the responses are so rude. Cruise lines accept special needs kids into their programs and really need to step up and provide the care and security required. My only real suggestion is to maybe avoid the high season. Though we travelled on Carnival in late April and there was not enough kids for both halves of the kids club to be open at certain times of day and my 9 year old hated when the younger kid half. I do wonder about the 12+ group as all children as the kids can come and go as they please. Do they have a protocol for special needs (pre)teens?
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  #153  
Old March 3rd, 2013, 08:57 AM
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I think the bottom line is they accepted the child into the youth program. Their policy is "parents need to give permission for a 10 year old to be allowed to leave club alone. Parents did not give said permission. Child is found in his cabin, with the cabin steward keeping an eye on him. THere are cameras all over the ship, surely there is one by the childrens club area that can be viewed showing how the child left the area. Special needs or not I too would be very upset about this. Does it take child being abused/hurt before some would get upset. I think (could be wrong) if they told the parents exactly what happened after viewing the tapes, then told them the steps it was taking to prevent this from happening in the future, along with the offered credit, this post may not have happened. I have 9 grandkids, from ages 2-19, with one who has Austism, and one who has been an officer of her "Best Buddies" chapter at her high school. Just added that so people understand I do know a little about special needs kids. But in this case, that should not even matter.
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  #154  
Old March 3rd, 2013, 10:27 AM
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I think the bottom line is they accepted the child into the youth program. Their policy is "parents need to give permission for a 10 year old to be allowed to leave club alone. Parents did not give said permission. Child is found in his cabin, with the cabin steward keeping an eye on him. THere are cameras all over the ship, surely there is one by the childrens club area that can be viewed showing how the child left the area. Special needs or not I too would be very upset about this. Does it take child being abused/hurt before some would get upset. I think (could be wrong) if they told the parents exactly what happened after viewing the tapes, then told them the steps it was taking to prevent this from happening in the future, along with the offered credit, this post may not have happened. I have 9 grandkids, from ages 2-19, with one who has Austism, and one who has been an officer of her "Best Buddies" chapter at her high school. Just added that so people understand I do know a little about special needs kids. But in this case, that should not even matter.
The cruiseline is not going to show the OP any video evidence of what actually happened unless a court requires them to do so. They offered a settlement attached to a non-disclosure agreement which the OP refused to sign. No conversation is going to happen between anyone other than lawyers on both sides at this point.

Did the cruiseline make a mistake? Yes, but they aren't going to admit that until the OP agrees to a settlement and signs a non-disclosure agreement.

I also wouldn't doubt that the OP is now on a no sail list with the cruiseline.
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  #155  
Old March 3rd, 2013, 06:15 PM
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Default ncl failed us, too

When my dd was 5, we went to pick her up from the children's program and THEY DID NOT KNOW WHERE SHE WAS! It turns out, she had been in the bathroom crying for about 2 hours. Of course, I was extremely upset, but managed to hold myself together enough to talk to the person in charge of the children's program. She was very apologetic and I did not take it any further. The "what if's" are still upsetting even now. This was during a week of low enrollment. I, personally, would never take another NCL cruise again - even if it were given to me free. But even based on our experience, I know that it is our experience and not the norm. We have taken several cruises since then and never had a problem.
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  #156  
Old March 4th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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Hypothetically, if it had been my typical functioning 10 year old child that I had enrolled in the kids program and did not give her permission to sign herself out, I would trust that the adult leadership of the program enforce that designation. She's 10 -- of COURSE she's going to try to sign herself out. It is the leadership's job to ensure safety and following of the rules set in place by the cruiseline as well as the parents in this case. In other cases, like I don't allow my children to watch SpongeBob, but if SpongeBob was on in the kids' area, I would expect the leadership to change the programming/move my daughter elsewhere. But in the instance of keeping my child in the area with the other children, I think a certain level of expectation of containment is reasonable. Why would anything like a developmental issue even come into the discussion?

On the other hand, if I had contacted the cruise line ahead of time, like the OP did RE: the special needs AND informed the staff in the kids' area upon arrival AND the child had been to the kids' area numerous times before with no complaints/problems/issues, then I (and the OP) had every reasonable expectation that the same care and security would happen this time as well. It did not -- the OP is outraged. As they should be. The cruise line was not empathetic or apologetic in ANY way. Several have asked what the OP wants as an outcome -- not to be made whole monetarily. They want the situation acknowledged for what it was -- a breach, a mistake, an error. They want the cruise line to recognize that and own up to it. Then assure the passengerss that measures have and will be taken to tighten things up to not have it happen again.

If you went to pick your child up from school at the end of the day and the teacher didn't know where they were and then, after an extensive search, you found your child had just wandered home by themselves -- you would be just as furious, just as outraged with the school as the OP is with the cruise line/kids' program. The kids' program took on the responsibility of the care of the child and in this instance, they failed. Simple as that. Stop trying to make excuses for the cruise line or find extenuating circumstances for the particular cruise/date/situation. There is NO situation where this would EVER be acceptable.
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  #157  
Old March 4th, 2013, 12:46 PM
thehorrocksfamily thehorrocksfamily is offline
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Hypothetically, if it had been my typical functioning 10 year old child that I had enrolled in the kids program and did not give her permission to sign herself out, I would trust that the adult leadership of the program enforce that designation. She's 10 -- of COURSE she's going to try to sign herself out. It is the leadership's job to ensure safety and following of the rules set in place by the cruiseline as well as the parents in this case. In other cases, like I don't allow my children to watch SpongeBob, but if SpongeBob was on in the kids' area, I wouldn't expect the leadership to change the programming/move my daughter elsewhere. But in the instance of keeping my child in the area with the other children, I think a certain level of expectation of containment is reasonable. Why would anything like a developmental issue even come into the discussion?

On the other hand, if I had contacted the cruise line ahead of time, like the OP did RE: the special needs AND informed the staff in the kids' area upon arrival AND the child had been to the kids' area numerous times before with no complaints/problems/issues, then I (and the OP) had every reasonable expectation that the same care and security would happen this time as well. It did not -- the OP is outraged. As they should be. The cruise line was not empathetic or apologetic in ANY way. Several have asked what the OP wants as an outcome -- not to be made whole monetarily. They want the situation acknowledged for what it was -- a breach, a mistake, an error. They want the cruise line to recognize that and own up to it. Then assure the passengerss that measures have and will be taken to tighten things up to not have it happen again.

If you went to pick your child up from school at the end of the day and the teacher didn't know where they were and then, after an extensive search, you found your child had just wandered home by themselves -- you would be just as furious, just as outraged with the school as the OP is with the cruise line/kids' program. The kids' program took on the responsibility of the care of the child and in this instance, they failed. Simple as that. Stop trying to make excuses for the cruise line or find extenuating circumstances for the particular cruise/date/situation. There is NO situation where this would EVER be acceptable.

Oops! Sorry about that important typo!
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  #158  
Old March 4th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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I don't know about on a ship, but at least where I work, we are not allowed to tell you what corrective actions we have taken regarding a concern or complaint you have have told us, when it involving our employees. This means perhaps I did just make note of it and really nothing else.... or perhaps I followed up with the employee and issued a document incident to their record, or perhaps I even fired them after investigating the issue. IN all of the above, from nothing to everything, I can not tell you "thank you, we have spoken with ______ and this is what we did.".

At this point it becomes a private employee/employer transaction. You have a right to complain and let your voice be known. You do not have a right to know for certain that the person or persons at the center of the issue have been reprimanded or terminated from employment.

NCL said they have taken corrective measure and I understand everyone wants to know what the measures are, but again, please don't expect NCL give more then that. I have been in places where I have had to cut someone loose when the person complaining just wanted me know.... I have also been where I have done nothing despite the person complaining wanted me to fire everyone involved. Usually it falls somewhere in between but in all cases, all I can tell the complaining person is that we are following up on the issue. Anything more and the employee I am following up with would have a case against the company.

That all said, NCL might need to do more. Maybe they don't want money back, but a personal call from a high ranking official within NCL, assuring them that the matter is being followed up on might go a long way. We've definitely done that in my line of work. We also sometimes don't give them back the money, after all they were clear they wanted corrective action. But we do invite them back on our dime so they can experience our brand at we intented it to be.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 12:26 AM
Michelle1503 Michelle1503 is offline
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This is my first post, but I feel it necessary to warn parents about my experience on NCL with my 10 year old son with Autism. On the last night of our cruise on the Epic over this past Thanksgiving, we took our 3 boys to the kids club, so my wife and I could have a quiet relaxing dinner. Upon returning to our cabin after dinner, we found our stateroom attendant standing in the hallway outside our cabin, motioning for us to look inside our cabin. Believe it or not, we found our 10 year old son with Autism sitting on the bed playing with an iPad. The stateroom attendant told us that Ben, walked into the room while it was being cleaned, and that he had been there for about 30 minutes. Thank goodness for Jose, the stateroom attendant. If hadn't been there, who knows where Ben could have wandered off to. The kids club is on deck 14 and our cabin was on deck 11 at opposite ends of the ship. I immediately ran up to the kids club and demanded to speak to someone in charge. Of course, they had no idea that my son was missing. Basically, they apologized and explained that they had no idea how he was able to leave their care. What a crock! That's all I got from them was an apology, not, is he ok? Are we ok?, just an oops, we're sorry, this has never happened before. When we returned home, I sent a letter to customer relations asking for an explanation. It took over 4 weeks for them to respond, and again, no explanation. What they did do is offer us a future cruise credit of $1500 as an apology, if, and only if we were willing to sign a disclosure to keep our mouths shut. Well, obviously I'm not keeping quiet. We have given NCL ample time to own up to what they allowed to happen, and still haven't done so, so I am here to warn all parents that I don't believe that NCL has our children's safety as a major priority. Mind you, they never called security when I told them what happened. The stateroom attendant called his boss to report my son being there, but again, he was just told to watch him and security wasn't called. I'm disgusted by NCL's lack of accepting responsibility for losing my son. I guess because he wasn't hurt, they don't care enough. I guess it will take a child being injured, or worse, falling over board or being molested for them to care. I will never travel with NCL again and I hope my letter will help other parents make the same decision. NCL isn't safe. NCL doesn't care. I hope this helps others to make responsible decisions about choosing a cruise line.
That sounds absolutely awful. I am so sorry that you went through that. My son also has special needs, although very different from your son and he is much younger. My son is two and has a heart/lung condition and gastro intestinal feeding tube. We are cruising this time around knowing he "could" stay in the camp care they offer. But I just don't know if I feel comfortable with it. Not at all criticizing your decision, just wondering, was it hard for your to decide allowing him to go? I feel like I would have no fun wondering if he is truly being "cared" for. Keep announcing, I would too.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 04:22 AM
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A special needs cruise might be a better fit next time, or bringing along a safe family member to watch your kid instead of trying to conform him. He clearly was confused and staff aren't always trained to special needs- ESP the Houdini type. He's probably the only kid who has ever escaped. Self reflection is key here. Most 10 year olds know to stay put. Common sense.
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