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First time cruiser here. We have our two children, one of which is autistic so we're thinking we'll book one of the day tours on offer from the ship. We're on the Pacific Jewel and have a full day in Port Vila. Is there anything we should know about booking these tours? I'm assuming it's a safe way to go. Any recommendations in particular? Thanks.

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Hi Cath,

 

Firstly about us I have a 17 year old daughter Chelsea who has CP cannot walk and has been on 13 cruises.

 

Over the years I have met many parents of children with Autism so understand your situation.

Maybe a couple of questions to enable me to help you further.

 

What cruise ? How old are children? Are you looking at kids club? What are their and your interests? How do they tolerate crowds and noise? Anything else?

 

One thing I can definitely recommend dining is going on cruise control and requesting Boarding Assistance. This will minimise standing in lines in the very busy departure areas and get your cruise of to a good start.

 

Also on boarding make contact with Reception and advise them of any special requests you may have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Peter, thanks for the reply.

We're on the Pacific Island Hopper on the Pacific Jewel. Our son is 12 and whilst he has autism, he is at the high functioning end of the spectrum. He's ok with noises and crowds - I've sort of trained him that way :-) He's very social but needs to be prepared for most situations. That's why I thought we'd book a shore tour through P&O so we can prepare him with what to expect on the day. The idea of being accosted at the port with cab drivers and tourism operators will terrify him. We were leaning towards the Lagoon Cruise on the Barge which looks relaxing and scenic.

Not sure if we'll bother with the kids club for him - he is 12 but his mental capacity is about 4 years younger and unless he can remain with his 9 year old sister, he would be incredibly uncomfortable. I suppose it will depend on whether P&O will accommodate us on the ship in keeping the kids together.

Thanks for the tip about boarding assistance - that's a great idea and I will do that. I have done the check in already but assume I request boarding assistance while printing e-tickets and selecting boarding times?

Thanks again.

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The reason I asked what cruise was to see your other ports as well.

 

In Noumea I recommend you do the Tchuo Tchuo Train. You don’t have to book through

P & O it is a lot cheaper at the terminal.

 

Port Vila can be a bit overwhelming but the is only for about the first 2 hours. If you delay getting off the ship early it’s not too bad. The lagoon cruise sounds good but another option might be catching the water taxi to town or Hideaway Island this is just as you leave the wharf area.

 

I don’t have a cruise booked at the moment so can’t look at cruise control. I think it is when you put in the Personal details. If not send an email to customer care they will help you.

 

Another idea is about dining. If you speak to the Maître de they can organise a designated table maybe in a quieter area and a waiter experienced with special needs.

 

Chelsea also takes her DVD player and a selection of movies.

 

 

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Thanks for all your suggestions. We're very excited and so is our son. He is used to going on holidays - we take him away a lot and he loves it.

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