We have enjoyed Buddy Cruise since our first in 2013 and go every since. It is our main vacation planned each year. We enjoy seeing friends from past cruises as well as meeting new cruisers and conference speakers.
It is well worth looking into Buddy Cruise for your next family vacation since there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy themselves as well as relax. Check out the BC videos on You Tube and don not forget to watch the "Buddy Cruise News" which is video presentation of the Buddy Cruise kids interviewing fellow BC members.
Even in the challenging time with Covid 19, the Buddy Cruise Directors put together different events for the Buddy Cruise family to help keep the BC kids engaged in fun activities with their BC friends, as well as something for the parents. The Zoom Dance Party on Fridays night via Zoom is our daughters favorite event to dance with her BC friends.
We are proud to be ambassadors for Buddy Cruise living in New Hampshire.
You can read about Buddy Cruise in the "Diversability Magazine" Oct 27, 2019 release.
So check out Buddy Cruise, you will not be disappointed.
My family and I have been on two Buddy Cruises thus far and find it to be a wonderful experience for the whole family. It is a great way to take a vacation since you are with other families who have a child with a intellectual or physical disability. There is something for everyone in the family to do and enjoy on board and at the excursions.
Since it is also a conference at sea you learn from the many topics listed and have great presenters from across the country that have their heart and soul into their presentation's for the family to learn something new. We have meet many great families and have great friendships that have developed as well. We also like how the other cruisers not part of the BC group make our families feel included on board and at the excursions. It was impressive to see over 600 passengers (~300 Buddy Cruisers & ~ 300 other passenger's) on the walking deck during to Buddy Walk (BC15) to spread the mission of diversity and inclusiveness. We tip our hat to what the Arnoldson Family has created in Buddy Cruise. We look forward to each Buddy Cruise we go on to see our friends from past cruises and the new friendships developed on future Buddy Cruises. Thank you for creating great memories for the whole family.
My son and I first met the wonderful organizers of Buddy Cruise 3 yrs ago when we first traveled with them on RC Cruise Ship! We have joined the Buddy Cruise family every year since and are looking forward to our next cruise in November. The Buddy Cruise Family makes new families and friends feel welcome and part of their BC family so that you want to continue with this yearly travel adventure. Everyone has a wonderful time and appreciate all the efforts the BC organizers and board members put into making everyone's experience a memorable one.
Love love love Buddy Cruise. It's a chance for families with children with "special needs" to come together and enjoy an experience of a life time. Everyone is so kind and understanding and the Royal Caribbean makes sures it's an experience of a life time. Bet you can't do just one. Your make lifetime friendships!
hi - we were new to the world of cruising when we went on our first Buddy Cruise - but fell in love with BUDDY First and our Buddy family next!
What a beautiful group of people!
When we first went on the Buddy Cruise we are expecting a wonderful vacation however Buddy Cruise is so much more. It is an opportunity to create family and lifetime memories. It’s an opportunity to change the world by changing others perspectives about those with differing abilities. There’s an opportunity to educate yourself to make memories and to have fun in a way that you probably never have. If you have someone with special needs in your life then the Buddy Cruise might just be the thing that changes your world.
We have been traveling with the Buddy Cruise since 2011 and it is still an amazing, fun experience each time! We love the activities, the people, the conference on board the ship and everything about the event. It is expertly run and well managed. We love that we feel that the fellow Buddy Cruisers are now family.
The Buddy Cruise does an amazing job of showing the world that people with differing abilities are more alike than different. We get on board the ship with people asking why they picked this week and get off with them planning to join us next year! Where else can you literally change the world one cruise at a time!
We love Buddy Cruise! More like a family than a vacation, this will be our sixth Buddy Cruise in 2020. So much to do, so many people to meet. And just that -the people are the BEST! You can relax, you can “conference”, you can take excursions, dance, talk, party. There’s nothing like it. Three thumbs up from the Prewitt family!
Buddy Cruise is family! This fall will be our fifth cruise. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other families in the special needs community, enjoy fellowship, learn (there is a conference on board), dance, sing and just enjoy a week at sea with some amazing people. We love it - and you will too!
I love buddy cruise. I get to see my friends and meet new friends. I can’t wait for this years buddy walk at sea!
This group of people loves helping those who many others have cast to the side. They have devoted their lives to helping individuals with Down Syndrome and other disabilities have a better life. Our son loves to cruise and we all feel accepted and loved by the Buddy Cruisers. Thanks so much!
As the parent of individuals with special needs, vacations aren't always something you think you will experience. You are concerned people won't understand your kids or your family. Then, BUDDY CRUISE! It's a vacation, a wonderful family experience, a conference and so much more. For us, it's a dream come true. The most unexpected result of this experience was the new family we gained. Whether it's your first time or you have gone every year, you are part of this amazing family.
I might be biased because my BFF Pamela is a director of Buddy Cruise and her awesome kids came up with the idea to cruise and educate. But, my family and I are more than inspired by this amazing group. I’ve met people who are not “associated” with Buddy Cruise but plan their cruises at the same time as Buddy Cruise because they are so inspired by this group of wonderful people.. I can not say enough about all these wonderful inspirational people!
Most amazing nonprofit organization I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody is your family whether you know them or not. We go in early now just to be able to hang out with people that we will be cruising with.
Buddy cruise is like a huge family reunion. They combine FUN and education for a week experience your family will not forget. BuddyCruise..bet you can't do just one!
Buddy Cruise does many amazing things for amazing people. My daughter's and my first cruise ever was on Buddy Cruise and we now have a new family. This cruise gives any one with a "Disability " a chance to meet new friends, Dance, have fun and be them selves along with some informative sessions for parents, guardians and caregivers.
Buddy Cruise has become family. This is the highlight of our daughter’s year! We have been on 5 Buddy Cruises now and both me and my husband also look forward every year to the Buddy Cruise as we have also made friends that have become Buddy Family, truly a week of education and memories. Our daughter has made Buddy friends that keep in touch all year long, can’t wait to see what speakers and memories wait for us in September!
Buddy Cruise is more than a non-profit. Buddy Cruise is family, friends - laughing, learning, enjoying a mini vacation.
It’s an educational conference at sea, mixed with making new friends, dinners dancing and excursions at exotic ports
Buddy Cruise is the best family conference we attend each year. My daughter looks forward to meeting new friends, and I enjoy meeting other families with loved ones with disabilities to share information and
We have the best time cruising with the Buddy Cruise family. The dances are my favorite but the conference speakers are always so good. Such a great opportunity for families to vacation with other families like theirs. Memories that last a lifetime.
We love love love Buddy Cruise! Our family has been on (4) of them, and A Mother's Rest is a proud supporter of their family trips every year.
2017 was our first Buddy Cruise. And let me tell you, we are hooked! The atmosphere was energizing!! We made so many lifelong friends! Even the non cruisers joined in the fun
Five years ago I went on my first cruise with this amazing group. Each year I’m more excited than the year before to get together seeing old friends and making new one. If you would like to see individuals that focus on ability versus disabilities please come join us. Be prepared to have the time of your life with some of the most incredible people. You will not be disappointed.
Our family loves Buddy Cruise! We come every year because it’s so much fun, it’s educational, we get to reconnect with friends we don’t see the rest of the year, and because it’s just good for us. All the programs, activities, seminars are top notch. Pam and Jorge go above and beyond to make each Buddy Cruise an unforgettable experience, and they are successful. We tell everybody about Buddy Cruise because we want other families to experience what we do on Buddy Cruise-love and acceptance and an experience that will make them want to come back year after year!
I had the amazing opportunity to go on the 2017 Buddy Cruise! The organization of this event was phenomenal! The organizers and all involved facilitators went above and beyond any requirements, and crossed over into making this the experience of a lifetime. This event should be on everyone's bucket list. I was humbled to be able to be a part of it.
It was our first cruise and Buddy Cruise treated us like family from the first moment we entered the hotel lobby. They are a great group of people demonstrating that there are no disabilities but different abilities that truly make a difference. They go above and beyond to show love.
We have been in 9 buddy cruises!! Cannot wait for #10! Nothing gets better than this experience!
Previous StoriesRead more
Can't beat Family and Education and plenty of FUN! Very inspiring, and the whole family loves going!
Amazing group of people. Very helpful and informative. One of the greatest bonding experience for any person with any special need. I have a daughter with Down Syndrome it's hard to find activities she enjoys. Once you board the ship you don't stop smiling.
This is an amazing organization only went once this will be second cruise and the friends I have made have become like a another family. I love the Buddy Cruise .
Buddy Cruise is an awesome organization. So many families with disabilities, from across the globe, come together to attend fun events and workshops; building lasting bonds.
My 36 year old son has Down syndrome. Prior to his first Buddy Cruise in 2008, he was very hesitant to travel with us (my wife and I are retired). He enjoyed the cruise so much that he has since travelled with us to 36 countries. The travel on the Buddy Cruise is not the main attraction, it is the opportunity to meet with others who are in the same "boat", so to speak. The 2017 cruise will be our 4th. We are both on the Steering Committee of our local Special Olympics and the timing sometimes conflicts with the Buddy Cruise. He looks forward to this event every year.
I have been on two Buddy Cruises with my 30 year old son, who has Down Syndrome. It was a great opportunity to meet others in the same situation. My son and I both made new friends and had some nice trips. Patrick has travelled extensively with his mother and me. The Buddy Cruises were a good way for him to meet some peers. It was a good opportunity for me to meet some of the other parents and speakers to know that we are not alone.
Review from Guidestar
LOVE LOVE LOVE this team! Such a special, extended opportunity for fellowship and life skills learning aboard the Buddy Cruise! We make friends for life and I encourage ANY family with ANY extra needs to participate if you're able.
Where did I even start. From Jet skiing in Saint Martin to Dune buggy's in Jamaica to Dancing the night away to workshops with other families, buddy cruise has greatly impacted the lives of many families, mine included. What we have here isn't just a group, but a family where everyone is not only accepted but truly cared for. The networking within the group is phenomenal in connecting families with similar situations, along with offering a grand support group within itself. My family has been part of Buddy Cruise for 5 Years now & we are lifelong members. Come check us out & get involved!
Hands down the best vacation we have ever had! We went to have fun and meet other special needs families and walked away with friends for life!
One of the best family vacations ever. Made many life time friends. We now go every year. My daughter asks to go many times during the year.
When we found out about Buddy Cruise, the thought of taking my brother-in-law who is now 58 and has Down Syndrome on a cruise with is peers intrigued us. We found out how fantastic the people who plan this event every year are. They make sure there are activities to include all folks no matter what their disability, chances to do something you can not do at home, and make new friends who you can keep in touch with through the year.
My husband and I have taken my brother-in-law on the Buddy Cruise 3 times now and it has been an forgettable experience each time.
Buddy Cruise has the most caring and helpful people working to make the experiences unforgettable to the people who attend whether they are young or old, family or friends.
I would recommend this cruise to anyone who has a family member or friend with a disability.
Our family first found out about the Buddy Cruise several years ago while we were living in Alaska, and have since attended 3 sailings. It has been a fantastic experience for us being the person in our family who has a disability is my 57 year old brother in law with Down Syndrome.
The experience of going on a ship for him has been wonderful great. There are so many people and being with his peers makes him very happy. Even though he is older, there are always activities he can participate in.
Jorge and Pam Arnoldson who founded Buddy Cruise, their family and the crew who help them (they work year round) every year, think of everything for the inclusion of the participants no matter what age. Parents are always included each trip with seminars to help them cope with happenings in their lives.
I can't say enough about the Arnoldsons and the cruise. Anyone who has a child, sibling or any member of their family with a disability should attend a Buddy Cruise to have a fantastic memorable experience.
We cruise ALOT. But traveling with three special needs children is challenging and at times, in the past, isolating. UNTIL we met Buddy Cruise! From my first contact with Pam Arnoldson (director of BC), I felt like family! Not many understand an autistic child with sensory issue that cries and hides because the "lights were too bright" or a child with difficult to understand speech, or children with very complex medical issues, but Buddy Cruise understands and welcomed us. We travel with a suitcase of meds, IV poles and pumps- not a problem for BC.
In the past we may have "travelled " but never felt "included". With Buddy Cruise we were not only included- we had an instant sense of "belonging".
I loved advocating for our children on the Buddy Walk at Sea and showing folks that our kids are more alike than different.
We made great friends, formed strong bonds and enjoyed chatting with people who truely do understand.
The workshops were fabulous- so much to learn.. There was great food and fun and the time went by WAY to quickly. We are registered for BC 2916 and will book soon for 2017.
THIS is acceptance, equality, love and family fun.
Buddy Cruise Inc.-Lithia, FL in three words… AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION! 2015 was the first year my sister and I stumbled across their website, BuddyCruise.org by way of search engines affiliated with Down syndrome. As a sister, caregiver, and a nervous nelly about travel all together I spent just a couple of hours discussing and pointing our family, friends, and my sister’s physicians to Buddycruise.org regarding this opportunity, their response was very positive and encouraging. From the time I contacted the assigned travel agency until the time we returned home, the entire Buddy Cruise organization was very prepared, responsive to all my questions, and made us feel part of a much bigger family. We were welcomed with so many hugs, included in a variety of activities, educated about additional resources, and made many forever friends. The Buddy Cruise organization has given us an opportunity to share our story and experiences on a day-to-day basis with people we work with and meet along life’s journey. Thank you Buddy Cruise Inc.! We’re excited to be seeing you and making more forever friends in 2016!
Having been with Buddy Cruise since its inception in 2008, I have seen this organization grow. What started off as just a conference at sea has become like a yearly family reunion. I have met so many amazing people and it is truly a blessing to call them my friends.
I have been on every Buddy Cruise since the first sailing. At the beginning of each cruise you barely know anyone but by the end, it is like we are one big family. The cruise includes a variety of amazing speakers and between the entertainment that the cruise line has and what Buddy Cruise provides there is no way you will be bored. If you have the chance to join Buddy Cruise on a voyage one year, I definitely recommend it.
Review from Guidestar
I have been to my first Buddy Cruise in 2015 and loved it! we went with four families and we all booked for the 2016 Buddy Cruise before leaving the ship. It's a great family to be part of!
Buddy Cruise, Inc. is one of our favorite organizations in the world and we have participated in many. We have sailed on 5 or 6 Buddy Cruises and each year the experience just gets even better. One of our favorite things about Buddy Cruise is the 'family' that develops as a result of the camaraderie with other passengers and families. We also love the conference, the excursions and especially the dances. This is a professionally run organization that definitely fulfills its mission and purpose!
The best combination of family vacation, friendship and fun! Also a conference with infirmTion and events. They plan events with the cruise line and other passengers so that it's a safe and inclusive environment. I'll continue going on Buddy Cruise as long as the ship is sailing!!
Best experience of a life time. Since I have been there for 4 years I could not think of a better group to b a part of. Lifetime of memories. Best group of people ever. Team double ds rocking buddy cruise
The only way to cruise is with 300+ of the most fun-loving people I have ever met on The Buddy Cruiser!!! Great people, great conference at sea with some amazing kids and families! I've been on 4 cruises and I'm so excited to go on my 5th, in 2016!!
Buddy cruise is a lifetime family that will always be by your side. it's an amazing journey and an educational experience you can't find anywhere else I went on my first cruise 4 years ago with out knowing anyone. I could write a book about my experience on bc with my son. it's like having a family from all over the world. Go once and your hooked. We are team double ds and we are buddy cruisers for life. Come join the family
I have been on four Buddy Cruises and each and everyone is a heart warming experience you just won't forget. Its a wonderful way to meet and make new friends from all over the country and people you look forward to seeing each and every year. Its like seeing family again and catching up on everything and making new memories.. Please take a Buddy Cruise once, and you will be hooked.. I hope you will..
Each time we go on a buddy cruise we can't wait to sign up for the next one. Fun, exciting and we have made some great friends.
Imagine being surrounded by people that know how to genuinely love better than any on earth. Oh, then you are in PARADISE too. Best week of my year. Coolest part is you don't have to have Down Syndrome or go with someone who does to be a part of this incredible group. A++
1st time cruiser with the Buddy Cruise. We had the trip of our lifetime, filled with great people, great experiences and most of all fabulous memories. We hope to be able to enjoy it next year.
The Buddy Cruise is an amazing organization! I just love the level of excitement about every single family!
How does one even begin to write a review on Buddy Cruise? Co-founders, Pam & Jorge have given their heart and soul into this amazing organization. I have been on Buddy Cruise twice now and I cannot imagine not going on another one. The people I have met are my extended family. Pam & Jorge are humble, hard-working and they have created a community of people who are committed to their families and who cherish meeting other families. I highly recommend Buddy Cruise to anyone. God bless Pam & Jorge!!
Been on 2 Buddy cruises with my Daughter who has cerebral palsy and we felt like a part of a family.I does not matter what your Disabilities is your always treated and loved like family ......I could go on and on but you need too go on a buddy cruise to get the whole experience
As a speaker/comedian who has the privilege of performing all over the U.S., with a primary focus being Special Needs Organizations (Down Syndrome Association, Autism Societies, Special Olympics, etc.), the Buddy Cruise rises to the top as one of the best conferences available to people with Ds and their friends and families. As I always say, it is the only conference I can think of in which ideas of inclusion and awareness are happening simultaneously with the conference itself, as the "Buddy Cruisers" enjoy the many amenities and activities of the ship, and touching lives everywhere on board. Exposure is key in opening hearts and minds for people with Down syndrome. The Buddy Cruise does an A1 job in making this happen! While traveling, i never hesitate to promote this event as an "must" for anyone touched by someone special with that wonderful extra chromosome! ..the food is better than most conferences too.
The passion and enthusiasm of the leaders of this organization is truly inspiring. Bringing a conference like this on board a ship is genius in that it not only provides all of the resources, entertainment and speakers which benefit its attendees - but it also helps raise the awareness of everyone else on board about the joy of those who have Ds! Other conferences may talk about this, but the Buddy Cruise does it simultaneosly with the conference itself.
If i were ever to hit an iceberg while on board a cruise ship, and had only a few hours left to live, I'd want my final moments to be with these folks!
Review from Guidestar
I cannot begin to express how The Buddy Cruise has enriched my life. The concept of Buddy Cruise was that of my older children in honor of their younger brother. The idea of a Down syndrome conference with expert speakers on board a cruise ship was quite appealing; however, before the inaugural voyage was over we realized this was SO much more. Being able to spend so much quality time with other families who share your experiences is unmatched. Learning with and from others who have walked this walk before you and being able to inspire those whose journey is just beginning surpasses any conference or vacation experience I have ever had. I think having the “down” time to vacation with the families and really form bonds between the sessions and in port make this so unique. Now in its 4th year, The Buddy Cruise is becoming more like a big reunion with so many returning each year to welcome into the Buddy Cruise family those who are sailing with us for the first time.
I've been on 3 Buddy Cruises with my wife and two young daughters. We had a fantastic time on all the cruises and have meet some great familes. The Buddy Cruise provides the opportunity to vacation with other families who have kids with Down syndrome. It's great to see all the kids included in all the ship's activities. They provide lectures and workshops to educate families on various Down syndrome topics.
Review from Guidestar
my son is 19 and finding friends is no easy task we met a dozen people around the right age with down's on our first buddy cruise . Zach had alot of fun and met alot of potental friends , Zach has been talking about that cruise longer than he has ever talked about any other activity we are looking forward to oct. this time we are going to be sure and give contact info to everyone, finding adult friends now that zach is out of school is vary important to us he has been less shy every since the cruise i also met alot of parents who understand the life we live the joy and the hardships we all have i wish there were more events like this
Review from Guidestar
This was my second buddy cruise and had a blast on both of them. Lifelong friendships have been forged because of the common bond we all share - our love for our Buddies! Looking forward to the upcoming cruise in October - Can't Wait! Awesome cruise, great directors and lots of useful information.
Review from Guidestar
I cannot wait to sail with my newfound friends and their families.
They are truly an inspiration!
May God Bless them.
Rosa and Erik
Review from Guidestar
I first learned of Buddy Cruise in 2009 and think that it provides wonderful opportunities for people with Down Syndrome and their families to get together for fellowship, sharing experiences and solutions, learning, and fun. I have heard all positive reports from people who have participated in Buddy Cruise.
Review from Guidestar
Families and friends who give of themselves to raise amazing kids with Down syndrome are never alone in this world. They receive phenomenal support from Buddy Cruise, Inc. It is this fantastic non-profit group that reaches out to families who have been touched with Down syndrome, from prenatal through adulthood. Their annual awareness conference, Buddy Cruise, brings these families and friends together from all over the globe, forming bonds and lasting friendships. It is a privilege to be a part of this unique event, and cruise with such wonderful people.
Review from Guidestar
Buddy Cruise is a truly wonderful event! I learned about it last year, and was so impressed with this idea! It is a great way for families of children who have Down's Syndrome (and those children) to get together in a fun-filled, yet educational atmosphere where they can learn about Down's Syndrome and find a connective network of support. The organzation and planning that goes into creating this event is extraordinary, and I know hundreds of children and families have benefitted from this amazing opportunity. As an individual who works with children who have Down's Syndrome and their families on a regular basis, I can truly say that the Buddy Cruise is an unbelievable opportunity! I would highly recommend it to anyone who asks!!
Review from Guidestar
This is such a wonderful opportunity for families with children and adults with Down Syndrome to come together. I love that it is a cruise that combines learning, information and fun for everyone for all ages. It is so hard to find activities to do with our children where their needs are thought of. This cruise has it all. I'm glad that families through out the world can enjoy it too. It brings everyone together. And besides the Buddy Walks this is the only other event in the entire the year that is like that.
Review from Guidestar
I believe that Buddy Cruise is the ideal get-away for Down syndrome families. Where else can we learn so much, fellowship with other familes, promote awareness, and have what I consider to be the perfect family vacation, all in one event? The speakers are top-notch, the cruise line is wonderfully accomodating, and the bonds that are formed among families and between the children are indescribable.
As a co-founder of a regional support group representing individuals living with Down syndrome, I have to say that this group is one of the best in advocating for individuals living with Down syndrome. My family has been on two Buddy Cruises and we will be making our third cruise in October.
I would strongly recommend the Buddy Cruise to anyone, especially those who life has been enriched by Down syndrome in some fashion, to come aboard and see for themselves what all of the excitement is all about. You will leave with a lifetime of memories to share for many years to come.
Review from Guidestar
As a parent of a child with Down Syndrome you spend your every waking moment searching for someplace your child and family can feel "normal". Buddy Cruise is just that place! It gives families the opportunity to share their lives and experiences that enables you to take a deep breath and realize that your life is more "normal" than you had realized!!
Review from Guidestar