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  #1  
Old November 25th, 2013, 04:06 PM
sk8er3253 sk8er3253 is offline
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Default First Disabled Cruise Advice!?

My father unfortunately had his leg amputated just below the knee this fall and it will be a very long time before he is fit with a prosthetic. My family has never been on a "family vacation" and I recommended going on a cruise. I am 30 years old and my wife and I have been on a Carnival (Triumph) and RCCL Cruise (Oasis). I've looked at both of those companies again, and have heard a lot of people recommend Celebrity as well. I really have a few questions regarding a cruise for my family.

- What cruise lines are recommended for the disabled?
- Do certain room types make a big difference? (Inside, Window, Balcony, Suite?)
- Can you rent motorized scooters with certain cruise lines or even in certain ports to get around easily?
- Would anyone recommend certain ports of call? (Eastern vs. Western Caribbean)
- What advice do people have for traveling on a cruise with a disabled person in a wheelchair?

Seeing as my father is very recently disabled, I'm sure there are multiple things that I have not even thought of that could make things difficult and dampen our 1 and only vacation as a family. I want to do as much research as I can to make sure we are making it as easy and fun as possible for him, as well as the rest of the family. Appreciate any advice anyone may have!
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  #2  
Old November 25th, 2013, 04:51 PM
Shebbieal Shebbieal is offline
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How "young at heart" is your dad?

I 100% use a powerchair and LOVE cruising.

My favorite is Royal Caribbean. I have done over 40 with them! The rule I have found is the newer the ship the better accessibility. But, even their oldest is do-able. Some people swear by Holland America.

Personally I think the Eastern Caribbean is more accessible. Western Caribbean is primarily water focused.

Book early, get an accessible cabin. With Royal Caribbean I have gotten insides to Junior Suites, all accessible cabins have been very good.

There are companies that rent scooters or wheelchairs, check with the cruise lines access departments.

Off ship excursions are trickier, google is your friend.

Sherry
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  #3  
Old November 25th, 2013, 06:06 PM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8er3253 View Post
My father unfortunately had his leg amputated just below the knee this fall and it will be a very long time before he is fit with a prosthetic. My family has never been on a "family vacation" and I recommended going on a cruise. I am 30 years old and my wife and I have been on a Carnival (Triumph) and RCCL Cruise (Oasis). I've looked at both of those companies again, and have heard a lot of people recommend Celebrity as well. I really have a few questions regarding a cruise for my family.

- What cruise lines are recommended for the disabled? This actually depends on what your father likes to do. For example if he wants to be able to use the pool and or whirlpool RCCL is the only cruise line that has an accessible chair lift for one pool and one whirlpool fleet wide. If he plans to not to go into port and want's to be able to participate in organized on-board activities on port days than Holland America and or Celebrity IMHO are probably not the best option.

- Do certain room types make a big difference? (Inside, Window, Balcony, Suite?) An accessible cabin would be the best choice. Whether it's an inside, window, balcony or suite all depends on one's budget. A standard cabin regardless of type will not have a doorway wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Nor will there be enough interior floor space to use a wheelchair in the cabin. Additionally a standard cabin will have a step into the bathroom as well as a step up/over into the shower. An accessible bathroom with have a zero threshold doorway and shower entrance. Additionally there will be grab bars by the toilet/shower and a fold down shower seat.

- Can you rent motorized scooters with certain cruise lines or even in certain ports to get around easily? Scooters can not be rented for the day while in port. If a scooter is needed than it has to be rented from the start of the cruise through the cruise lines approved vendors. Here's the links :
www.specialneedsatsea.com
www.carevacations.com

NCL only allows Special Needs at Sea. Both vendors can be used by most all other cruise lines.


- Would anyone recommend certain ports of call? (Eastern vs. Western Caribbean) Recommend one that has no tendered ports if possible. Generally cruise lines will not allow the person to board a tender unless they can walk down/up a few steps and have a collapsible folding wheelchair. Mobility scooters will not be allowed on tenders unless the tender has roll-on capabilities. Holland America is the only cruise line that has one tender on most of it's ships with roll-on capabilities. Only a few ports of calls provide there own tenders that have roll-on capabilities. For example in Grand Cayman the ships do not use their own tenders . Rather the Grand Cayman tourism Boards provides tenders with roll-on capabilities.
It should also be noted that ADA law only applies to the USA. There will be little to no accessible tours offered by the cruise lines so you may want to look into whether or not there will be private accessible tours offered in the ports selected. Also accessible taxes that can accommodate a mobility scooter are often hard to find in many ports. Please come back and post the ports of call of interest to obtain further information.

- What advice do people have for traveling on a cruise with a disabled person in a wheelchair? Select a ship that has been built later than 2002. The newer the build the more accessible the ship. Most importantly your father needs to be involved in the decision process. He must convey his needs and no one should assume they know what those needs are for certain. I come across this all the time when my relatives plan events assuming they know what works best for me without ever asking me directly.


Seeing as my father is very recently disabled, I'm sure there are multiple things that I have not even thought of that could make things difficult and dampen our 1 and only vacation as a family. I want to do as much research as I can to make sure we are making it as easy and fun as possible for him, as well as the rest of the family. Appreciate any advice anyone may have!

Hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to post your questions and or concerns as they arise.

Last edited by xxoocruiser; November 25th, 2013 at 06:07 PM.
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  #4  
Old November 25th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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katisdale katisdale is offline
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When you look for an itinerary take into consideration two things, first what do you, your dad and your extended family like to do. If you don't enjoy museums then looking for historic excursions is not what you need to even consider. Second, has your dad gotten far enough in his rehab. to transfer from a wheelchair to a car or van seat (vans can be a problem for short people) or to a seat or a bed? If yes, you can choose from a variety of independent shore excursions. The cruise ship sponsored excursions will use large buses for their tours which present huge access problems. If your dad cannot transfer that complicates things as you will need an accessible vehicle. Those types of vehicles are more difficult to find. I would suggest you google "accessible (city name)" which may lead you to the type of excursion you require. I hope you have a wonderful cruise wherever you go and whichever line you select.
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  #5  
Old November 26th, 2013, 08:29 AM
sk8er3253 sk8er3253 is offline
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Default Great Advice!

Thank you everyone for the advice so far! I spent most of the afternoon going through the sticky posts but a lot of the information was out of date and some of the links didn't work anymore.

Shebbieal - My Dad is a very young at heart guy, loves music and talking with people. From what I've read about RCCL vs. Celebrity I think we would give the nod to RCCL at that point. I've done both the Eastern and Western tours and actually liked Eastern better. Great point about western being more water based!

xxoocruiser - Great information, I had not actually thought about choosing ports with a tender vs. docked. I remember when my wife and I did Grand Cayman it was hard for us to get on/off the tender with choppy seas, I can imagine that being impossible for someone in a wheelchair or with 1 leg. Just out of curiosity, how much do you think it is to rent a power chair for the week?

katiesdale - He's gotten far enough into rehab where he can transfer from a chair to a wheelchair, shower, toilet so he will be OK from that standpoint. We were looking to book a cruise sometime this spring but from what I'm reading, the accessible rooms tend to sell out faster so that may not be possible.

Thank you everyone for the input!
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  #6  
Old November 26th, 2013, 10:30 AM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8er3253 View Post

xxoocruiser - Great information, I had not actually thought about choosing ports with a tender vs. docked. I remember when my wife and I did Grand Cayman it was hard for us to get on/off the tender with choppy seas, I can imagine that being impossible for someone in a wheelchair or with 1 leg. Just out of curiosity, how much do you think it is to rent a power chair for the week?


Thank you everyone for the input!

IMO RCCL is a very good choice. Since becoming disabled , I have found RCCL to better suit my needs and interests.

Re: Power Chair or Mobility Scooter. Would suggest having your father speak to his Physical Therapist and or Occupation Therapist to determine which would be best suited for him since this is probably the first time requirering this type of equipment. Several factors are taken into account regarding rental costs so can't give an exact dollar amount other than to say it averages around $250.00 but can be less or more.

Factors that determine rental cost.
  • Port of embarkation
  • Port of disembarkation
  • Number of rental days
  • Height of individual
  • Weight of individual
  • If item is to be delivered to a pre-cruise destination such as a hotel and than picked again for delivery to the ship.

All mobility equipment is rented based on the weight capacity of the scooter or power chair relative to the weight of the individual so it's important that individual does not lie about this when asked by the rental company. The height is important because the rental company needs to determine there is enough leg room for the individual. Also the rental company adjusts the seat height prior to delivery to the ship or pre-cruise hotel.

If a full size scooter or power chair is required rather than a smaller narrower travel portable size your father will need to have an accessible cabin as a full size model generally will not fit through a standard cabin door. Safety regulations for all cruise lines mandate that the scooter MUST be stored in the cabin when not in use and cannot be left out in the hallway. Here's the link to RCCL's website that explains all this : http://www.royalcaribbean.com/allabo...yImpairment.do

RCCL's standard cabin doors are 23" wide from door frame to door frame . 2" than must be deducted for the depth of the door when opened as it does not open flush . Therefore there is only 21" of actual door width for a power chair or mobility scooter to fit through. Both rental companies are vary much aware of the standard door sizes on the cruise ships they service.

Additionally if an accessible cabin is not available he can request to be placed on a wait list. A shower chair/stool can be requested at no charge through RCCL's special needs department if he has to get a standard cabin. He will also be required to notify RCCL of any rental equipment being delivered to the ship. Here's the link for the form to advise of the rental equipment and request a shower chair/stool. https://secure.royalcaribbean.com/al...pecialNeeds.do

Last edited by xxoocruiser; November 26th, 2013 at 10:39 AM.
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  #7  
Old November 26th, 2013, 03:47 PM
kitty9 kitty9 is offline
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I would like to put in a vote for Celebrity. Their S class ships (Equinox, Eclipse, Reflection and Silhouette) are fantastic for those using mobility devices. Most of their doorways to outside decks have automatic doors and their public bathrooms all have push button access, which is great for those using scooters or power chairs. The accessible cabins, which I think you'll really need for him, have auto doors that open by just swiping your keycard, and the door stays open long enough for the person to enter the cabin without having the door shut on them.

If you do the Eastern Caribbean, I find those ports are much more accessible than the Western. It's easier to get around off the ship in places like San Juan, St Thomas and St Martin in a scooter. I use a mobility scooter full time and have had a easy time

The swimming pool does have a lift and their wonderful inside pool is adult only and has comfortable chairs that are easy to access. Plus, that pool has very small steps with handrails into the pool (I did see a couple of amputees use that pool with the handrails).

As far as an accessible cabin is concerned, just know that the step into the bathrooms can be as high as 6 inches, so unless he can negotiate that step, you really need to consider an accessible cabin.

I have to respectfully disagree with XXOO as to the activities on Celebrity ships when in port. I've been on so many cruises that I rarely leave the ship when it's in port and I find there's more than enough to do when everyone is in port. Actually, it's great to have the run of the ship when most are off on tours. But there are still activities on the ship to keep anyone busy if they decide to stay on board. But like I said, if you take a cruise that includes places like St Thomas and San Juan, there's no reason why he can't get off the ship and enjoy the island.
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  #8  
Old November 26th, 2013, 04:50 PM
Arlened236 Arlened236 is offline
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As an above the knee amputee the info posters have given you is correct except I could not cruise if I did not have an fully accessible cabin. I take my prosthesis off at night (and in the pool) I could not navigate either the step into the bathroom or use a shower in a regular cabin.
I take my own wheelchair and rent an electric scooter for the ship. I have found that in some ports the scooter is not practical, and since I can walk now I can take the tenders if the seas are not too rough. Most Caribbean ports do not have the same understanding of cut outs for side walks, and many shops have a high step (to prevent flooding with all the storms they have), and many sidewalks are narrow and in bad shape which make using a scooter almost impossible.

I have mostly cruised Princess and RCCL...and found both to be accessible friendly. Be sure to check with the cruise line for the company they use you choose to rent a scooter (it will be in your cabin and you leave it there when you leave the ship)

My only advice is when you decide on a cruise...make your reservation immediately...there are not many fully accessible cabins on each ship.
Cruising is wonderful for anyone that is 'differently abled' I commend you for thinking of your dad and family...we are doing a family cruise to alaska in Aug. so far we have over 30 family members coming...can't wait.
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  #9  
Old November 27th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Gunner22aa Gunner22aa is offline
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Default Scooter costs

I just did a mock booking for a one week cruise out of FL. Scooter costs vary depending on the one you need. The cheapest one which will hold up to 250lbs was $175/week. The next one up the ladder which will hold up to 350lbs was $225/week
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  #10  
Old November 27th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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A handicapped cabin should be at the top of your list and it does mean booking early. RC, Princess and Hal do fairly well in that category.
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  #11  
Old December 1st, 2013, 04:17 PM
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Plmkrze Plmkrze is offline
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Hello everyone!!!
We have been on several cruises ourselves but are taking a group cruise on NCL PRIDE OF AMERICA in September with family and one being disabled and depends on a wheelchair.

I have read over the special discussions related to cruising but not having any luck with POA specific information or HAWAII information.

Please reply with advice and suggestions for POA AND HAWAII if you or your fellow cruiser can offer some guidance.

Thanks in advance.
Meggan
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  #12  
Old December 1st, 2013, 07:48 PM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plmkrze View Post
Hello everyone!!!
We have been on several cruises ourselves but are taking a group cruise on NCL PRIDE OF AMERICA in September with family and one being disabled and depends on a wheelchair.

I have read over the special discussions related to cruising but not having any luck with POA specific information or HAWAII information.

Please reply with advice and suggestions for POA AND HAWAII if you or your fellow cruiser can offer some guidance.

Thanks in advance.
Meggan

Best if you advise questions specifically pertaining to POA ( NCL's Pride of America) or specific ports.
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  #13  
Old December 3rd, 2013, 09:34 PM
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elhenry elhenry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plmkrze View Post
Hello everyone!!!
We have been on several cruises ourselves but are taking a group cruise on NCL PRIDE OF AMERICA in September with family and one being disabled and depends on a wheelchair.

I have read over the special discussions related to cruising but not having any luck with POA specific information or HAWAII information.

Please reply with advice and suggestions for POA AND HAWAII if you or your fellow cruiser can offer some guidance.

Thanks in advance.
Meggan
Meggan, we traveled with my Mom, who was in a wheelchair, on the POA. One point which I have not run into on any other ship: the buttons to push the doors open automatically are not marked on the pool deck. We struggled with opening the doors and pushing her wheelchair for three days until we figured out where they were.

Kona is a tender port, the tender boats are tiny, and the seas are choppy. Unfortunately, since it is a great port, I do not think it will be accessible. My mom did not get off the ship.

If you would like a tour, and your wheelchair is collapsible, hire Mary Lou's tours on the Big Island. They were great with Mom.

el henry
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  #14  
Old December 4th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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Chunky2219 Chunky2219 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty9 View Post
I would like to put in a vote for Celebrity. Their S class ships (Equinox, Eclipse, Reflection and Silhouette) are fantastic for those using mobility devices. .............
I too would vote for Celebrity. Very accessible (both S Class and M class in my experience). Rest rooms are great, all round ship acccessibility is good and they look after people well on tours.

My all round recommendation thought is that if your father can hop up the steps on to a normal coach and get to the front seat, this makes life much, much easier when trying to decide whaht to do when on land. A collapsible scooter can go in the luggage compartment.


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Last edited by Chunky2219; December 4th, 2013 at 08:35 AM. Reason: typo
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  #15  
Old December 8th, 2013, 07:10 PM
sabookkeeper sabookkeeper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty9 View Post
I would like to put in a vote for Celebrity. Their S class ships (Equinox, Eclipse, Reflection and Silhouette) are fantastic for those using mobility devices. Most of their doorways to outside decks have automatic doors and their public bathrooms all have push button access, which is great for those using scooters or power chairs. The accessible cabins, which I think you'll really need for him, have auto doors that open by just swiping your keycard, and the door stays open long enough for the person to enter the cabin without having the door shut on them.

If you do the Eastern Caribbean, I find those ports are much more accessible than the Western. It's easier to get around off the ship in places like San Juan, St Thomas and St Martin in a scooter. I use a mobility scooter full time and have had a easy time

The swimming pool does have a lift and their wonderful inside pool is adult only and has comfortable chairs that are easy to access. Plus, that pool has very small steps with handrails into the pool (I did see a couple of amputees use that pool with the handrails).

As far as an accessible cabin is concerned, just know that the step into the bathrooms can be as high as 6 inches, so unless he can negotiate that step, you really need to consider an accessible cabin.

I have to respectfully disagree with XXOO as to the activities on Celebrity ships when in port. I've been on so many cruises that I rarely leave the ship when it's in port and I find there's more than enough to do when everyone is in port. Actually, it's great to have the run of the ship when most are off on tours. But there are still activities on the ship to keep anyone busy if they decide to stay on board. But like I said, if you take a cruise that includes places like St Thomas and San Juan, there's no reason why he can't get off the ship and enjoy the island.
We will be stopping in San Juan on our Reflection cruise. My understanding is we will be docking in Old San Juan. Will I be able to get around in my scooter?
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  #16  
Old December 9th, 2013, 01:02 AM
kitty9 kitty9 is offline
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I've taken my scooter off the ship in San Juan many times. It is easy to get around and I've not encountered problems as far as curb cuts and all the rest. Just make sure you have a fully charged battery as the area away from the port can be hilly.
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