Please help me choose river cruise for parents.

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#21
2,437 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
The help from the various companies is there, but you must request it. They don't advertise special needs met, but when asked they do. Pat
#22
Ohio
590 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
I think you ought to look at some of the ships schedules. You will find they do most of their moving at night and are docked during the day at some town so the people can explore. There isn't much for someone to do if they stay on the boat all day while it's docked. There is only a small amount of cruising during the day. It only takes a few hours to go through the Rhine section where all the castles are perched on the hills.
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Carole
#23
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by Carhut
I think you ought to look at some of the ships schedules. You will find they do most of their moving at night and are docked during the day at some town so the people can explore. There isn't much for someone to do if they stay on the boat all day while it's docked. There is only a small amount of cruising during the day. It only takes a few hours to go through the Rhine section where all the castles are perched on the hills.
Yes, look at the schedules, but some ships and itineraries cruise mostly during the day. On our Grand Circle cruise on the Seine last spring, there were only 2 occasions that we cruised part of the night. The Seine from Paris to Honfleur is only 240? miles, so the total cruising time is not great and the majority of the time is spent in the towns along the way, The only slightly demanding walking tour is in Auvers sur Oise, but you can cut the walk short and wait for the main group to come back from the cemetary where Van Gogh is buried. The post trip to St-Malo is wonderful, but would be too demanding for someone with heart problems. See my trip report/blog above for an idea of the pacing of this trip. I have had open heart surgery and my wife has had 2 knee replacements and we were able to do everything. We would be glad to answer any questions, but we leave for india a week from Monday. If you want you can Email me at [email protected].
#24
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by beverlyjack
...The only slightly demanding walking tour is in Auvers sur Oise, but you can cut the walk short and wait for the main group to come back from the cemetary where Van Gogh is buried.
Actually, we found that our trip to Auvers-sur-Oise had quite a bit of walking throughout the town... with a number of stairs. Also - our bus moved, and there was a bit of a walk from the down town area where we were dropped off to the bus parking area.

Definitely not a great excursion for someone with mobility issues.

Fran
#25
Ohio
590 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by beverlyjack
Yes, look at the schedules, but some ships and itineraries cruise mostly during the day. On our Grand Circle cruise on the Seine last spring, there were only 2 occasions that we cruised part of the night. The Seine from Paris to Honfleur is only 240? miles, so the total cruising time is not great and the majority of the time is spent in the towns along the way, The only slightly demanding walking tour is in Auvers sur Oise, but you can cut the walk short and wait for the main group to come back from the cemetary where Van Gogh is buried. The post trip to St-Malo is wonderful, but would be too demanding for someone with heart problems. See my trip report/blog above for an idea of the pacing of this trip. I have had open heart surgery and my wife has had 2 knee replacements and we were able to do everything. We would be glad to answer any questions, but we leave for india a week from Monday. If you want you can Email me at [email protected].
Yes Jack, the Seine did have more cruising during the day than most of the other river cruises. I've been on 7 river cruises. The Rhine and Danube are much longer rivers and they have to make some time and do quite a lot of cruising at night. Been through the Main Danube Canal a couple of times and never saw more than one or two of the 66 locks because they did it at night when it was dark and we were sleeping. They also do quite a bit of day travel on the Mosel River though. That has the most beautiful scenery of all the rivers IMHO.
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Carole
#26
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Thanks for the great comments. You all have given me some wonderful foundations for research. I found a couple of Rhine and Mosel River cruises. That sounds like a nice combo! I just found this:

http://www.uniworld.com/destinations...ne_and_moselle
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#27
Ohio
590 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by kath00
Thanks for the great comments. You all have given me some wonderful foundations for research. I found a couple of Rhine and Mosel River cruises. That sounds like a nice combo! I just found this:

http://www.uniworld.com/destinations...ne_and_moselle
This is my favorite itineray. In fact I've done it twice. I did look at your Uniworld site and it looks like a lovely cruise. However it's a lot more expensive than the ones I did with Grand Circle. Maybe it's a little more upscale, but I wouldn't know. You might want to check GCT.com out. You can see on their site what hours that they are cruising during the day and which they are docked. Some of those walking tours are quite easy. Our guides walked very slowly as they would stop and talk frequently telling us the history of the place we were visiting and pointing out things of interest.
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Carole
#28
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Have been on four river cruises ranging from 8 to 16 days. Sailed Viking and was pleased with all. I am 60 yrs old and very active but still found these trips very taxing due to logistics of just getting through airports and transfers to and from the ships not to mention the seemingly endless flights. I don't know where your parents will be traveling from, but we only have to go from Alabama to Europe and it is a very, very, difficult task. Now that security is ramped up, the lines are long and connecting flights usually leave barely enough time to sprint between gates. I travel with my husband at times and with a friend at others and we all have remarked that air travel nowadays is only for able bodied folks whith a lot of stamina.

For many years I have averaged spending $25K per year on travel and it just keeps getting more difficult and frustrating each year. Don't get me wrong, I love it--leaving in 4 wks for Paris with my two granddaughters for their 13th birthday. I also went on a Christmas Market Cruise on Viking two months ago. I don't plan to quit traveling, but I always dread the task of just getting to and returning from my destination.

I can't imagine going through all the hassle and then just staying on the boat. The scenery is lovely part of the time, but there isn't all that much to see from the boat and there certainly aren't any activities aboard ship other than eating. Yes, I find that the passengers on all the river cruises I was on were older, but they were active, fit and mobile.

One other consideration regarding degree of difficulty embarking and disembarking from the ship--some stated that the ramps are not steep. That depends on the depth of the water at the time of your sailing. At times we saw waters very shallow and at times very deep which makes the ramps to the shore very steep.
On our cruise a few weeks ago, we left Alabama at noon and it was 3:00 p.m. the following day before we were able to enter our cabins. A long, exhausting time. I would advise your parents that surely there would be something easier and closer to home that they would enjoy just as much.

I would even suggest an ocean cruise. My husband and I choose this option often and never leave the ship. There is so much to do on board and ports all over the US. Good luck!
#29
Northern California
216 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Kath, the Uniworld tour itin you found looks lovely. We did a similar tour with AMA Waterways in the late spring and it was beautiful. The scenery was very pretty and the small towns and steep vineyards of the Mosel really impressive, although as some have pointed out the ship sometimes doesn't move much during the day; it depends on the itinerary. You should look careful at the 'detailed itinerary' specifying arrival and departure times for each stop, to see if the sailing you choose would give your parents good views during the day. The Rhine Gorge, even though it takes only a few hours to transit, is breathtaking. With fall colors it would be amazing.

Regarding elevators on river cruises, I think the reason they do not reach all the way to the sun decks is because the ships need to be able to clear the sun deck off completely to pass under bridges that do not have much clearance. The wheelhouse even 'compresses' in a fashion (the top half retracts over the lower half - without crew inside, obviously!) when a low bridge is approached. The sun canopies fold flat for the same reason. A stationary elevator tower on the sundeck would restrict the ship's low-bridge passage ability.

Be aware that the elevators on some river cruise ships may not go to all of the 'regular' decks either. For example, on older AMA ships the elevator serviced the two upper decks of passenger cabins, but not the lowest level. There was a wheelchair lift on our ship, I think, that could be used to reach the sun deck, which would be desirable for the Rhine Gorge transit if the weather was good.

If you contact the cruise line directly or a knowledgeable TA who handles lots of bookings for your chosen line, hopefully you can find out exactly what a specific ship offers in terms of mobility accommodation.

Also in case you haven't visited yet, there is a specialty forum on CC for disabled cruise travel. I'll try to post a link below. You may get additional help regarding river or ocean cruise travel for disabled passengers from those who have gone before. Good luck!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=190