Autism on the Seas - Advisory Team
Autism on the Seas (AotS) is committed to providing the most comprehensive cruise vacations conforming to the accessibility and accommodation service needs the disability community requires. This commitment is made possible, in part, through the continuous improvement efforts of the Autism on the Seas Advisory Team.
The purpose of this volunteer team is to provide guidance to Autism on the Seas (through feedback and input regarding policies, procedures and services) for maintaining an effective program, to ensure that expectations of its guests are met and exceeded whenever possible.
The Autism on the Seas Advisory Team is made up of representatives from the AotS Staff, experts from the Special Needs Industry, representatives from the Cruise Industry and parents of children with disabilities, as well as Americans with Disability Act legal counsel. This multi-disciplinary approach facilitates the incorporation of diverse viewpoints when considering applicable laws, needs of our guests, latest disability industry developments, and cruise industry guidelines.
The Autism on the Seas Advisory Team works collaboratively to review the needs of existing AotS program constituents and to guide improvement projects such as, but not limited to, the following topics:
Staffing requirements, criteria, selection and performance review
Onboard activities and events
Special needs accommodations
Cruise Line changes in policies and procedures
ADA changes and current industry accommodation issues
Cruise Line consultations
Travel laws and trends
The Advisory Team
Michael Sobbell (co-chair), CEO / Founder AotS
Mike is the owner and founder of “Autism on the Seas”. He started this unique travel agency in 2006 and together with his vast cruising experience onboard cruise ships, studies in sociology and psychology, and his efforts in bringing developmental disability accommodation expertise to fruition, he has formed the most dynamic vacationing experience for families and adults with special needs. Within the second year after forming AotS, Mike was elected to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Inside Sales Advisory Board, an honor highlighted by the fact that only 20 agency owners of over 5000 across the United States were elected. “Autism on the Seas” has also been used by Royal Caribbean International to train other travel agents on Niche cruising. Mike has been successful in attaining many Special Needs Travel accommodations onboard cruise ships since beginning the agency, and he continues to advocate for the Special Needs Community working with and consulting for the major cruise lines, and resort suppliers. With Mike’s earlier background in Quality Assurance Standards compliance, the strides made by Autism on the Seas within the cruising industry, together with Royal Caribbean’s efforts and forward thinking initiatives he engineered the industry’s first Autism Friendly Standard and Certification Process in 2014.
Cruise Line Representation
Since pioneering the industry’s first and only sustained developmental disability cruise assisted services in 2006, we have established relationships with several cruise lines accessibility departments. We consult with them to acquire their feedback and guidance relative to their specific policies and guidelines in aiding our Advisory Team.
AotS Cruise Staff Group Leaders
Our Cruise Staff Group Leaders bring years of diversity leadership from the fields of Special Education and ABA. Group Leaders play an active role in continuously reviewing and improving our services, cruise after cruise. Meet our Group Leaders
AotS Cruise Staff - Ongoing/Rotational
We have hundreds of volunteer staff qualified who volunteer their time on our cruises throughout the year, who are professionals within the developmental disability industry, from around the country who provide input and feedback to our services. We actively include our staff in the review of our services after and during each cruise to ensure we are deploying the most current and appropriate expertise in the care of our children, and the consultative services we provide to the cruise industry.
Parents of Children with Special Needs
Parents provide feedback after every cruise, which our team reviews and takes action on. Many of the improvements we make come from our guests who cruise with us. The guest experience and their expectations are paramount in our goals as an organization
ADA Legal Counsel
Nolan Klein - Law Offices of Nolan Klein
Joshua Entin - Entin & Della Fera