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British Isles/Western Europe Amsterdam, Brugge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London (Dover, Harwich, Southampton)

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  #1  
Old February 1st, 2013, 01:08 AM
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greekgranny greekgranny is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Willmar MN
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Default What to Pack & Other

I am a 60 y/o nurse and social worker speed demon in a chair planning for my very first cruise with my sister and neice. We are researching western European 2-3 Week tours. I have a few questions that I am hoping a few of you can help me out. We do plan on trying to book a non-stop, first class flight to our boarding destination. However we are wondering what class cabin would be best for the 3 of us. I am able to ambulate short distances with a walker and am very strong and am quite active.

*Would a suite be best or can we go smaller?
*Wil ground excursions be wheelchair friendly in W. European large cities?
*Any suggestions on what ground excursions to engage in While in larger cities?
*Are there special articles I should make sure to purchase prior to the trip?
*Any special packing tips, purchases or clothing needs for a September European cruise.
*What kind of currency did you use in different cities?
*Was it costly to use a laptop while onboard ship?
*Cost saving ideas?
*Was English spoken in most spots?
*How much cash will we each need for a 2 week cruise with several ports of call?

Any and all suggestions welcomed and appreciated.
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  #2  
Old February 1st, 2013, 01:53 AM
Di Princess Di Princess is offline
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Talking Advice from another Grannie.

Hi, GG,

I am a Single ol lady and have been on 32 cruises, mostly with Princess. One on Epic (NCL) and one on RCCL (Oasis of the Seas).
You will find that Europe is not as friendly to people who have difficulty walking. There are uneven cobblestones (look darling but hard on the back and legs). Not all countries have the corners that slant down.

I use my Cane-Seat (I call it). Magellan's calls it a Sports Seat. I use it, mainly, to sit on when stopping with a tour guide or whenever U must wait in line, like at the airport or the Purser's Desk on board. It is also handy under my arm, while walking, to hold like a Tommie Gun. Also, I look people approaching me right in the eye and U do not look away until they do. I shall practice this skill in June in Barcelona - the 2nd most pick-pocketed city in the world.

I don't know what cruise line you are looking at; however, I advise to book early on any. Send for brochures from a lot of them (they ARE free) and come within a few days. Look at the Deck Plans. Handicapped cabins have a mark on them (usually an open o). These cabins have wider doors, as well as larger balconies and roll-in (much larger) showers. Cost is the same.
The 3 of you may want to get a mini-suite; however, I don't know if there are any that are handicapped.

On the cruise lines' websites, you can see photos and room layouts. I know that on the Princess website, you can read detailed descriptions of the Shore Excursions for different ports-of-call. They are marked with level of difficulty and some are designed especially for wheelchair passengers. Some of them you can just drive around on the bus and never get off, or get off and walk in town - your choice.

Most countries (it doesn't go by Cities) in Europe use the Euro. Look at www.oanda.com for conversion rates and get currency from your bank before leaving. I would invest about $10 - $15 in a silk wallet. I wear it under my panties and put all my currencies in it to fly and then secure it in my cabin safe on board. I take only one credit card but use it only to pay my Folio on board at the end of the cruise. Look at TravelSmith on line or Magellans.

Most of the British Isles (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England) use the GBP (Great British Pound). As far as how much cash you will need, it depends on how much you like to shop and how many friends & family need souvenirs. For me, $2000 USD for food ashore, souvenirs, tips to tour guides, cab fare, etc. I am now figuring out my budget for June. My pre-cruise and post-cruise B&Bs in London and Barcelona are already paid for. Don't forget that the cruise line will add about $10 to $15 per person per day for gratuities. That way you can put it into your budget and even pre-pay it on line. Those tips cover everyone from your Cabin Steward, Waiter, laundry person, etc. Barmen add 15% more on for any drinks.

You do not have to eat in the extra-pay restaurants. I never do and the food is always wonderful and I don't have to cook! You don't have to drink, although you can purchase Drink Packages. I save my vitamin bottles and take different Liqueurs. Put into plastic baggies, put that into a sock, put the sock in a shoe, and there U go.

Yes, take your laptop. In some ports you can use it free or find an inexpensive cyber cafe. It IS very costly on board. I am Elite on Princess so I get a couple of hours free. You should compose your e-mails off line and then it takes very little time to Send. I also Journal every day and my family really enjoys this.

Once you have booked, join your Roll Call on Cruise Critic and your fellow pax will be - oh-so-helpful. Sometimes, they will plan private tours in the different ports. Most of the time, I do this. However, for your very first cruise, U may want to stick with the ship-sponsored shore.

I hope I have been some help to you. There is nothing like cruising and it is really time that You get to it.

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  #3  
Old February 1st, 2013, 09:58 AM
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dogs4fun dogs4fun is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by greekgranny View Post
I am a 60 y/o nurse and social worker speed demon in a chair planning for my very first cruise with my sister and neice. We are researching western European 2-3 Week tours. I have a few questions that I am hoping a few of you can help me out. We do plan on trying to book a non-stop, first class flight to our boarding destination. However we are wondering what class cabin would be best for the 3 of us. I am able to ambulate short distances with a walker and am very strong and am quite active.

*Would a suite be best or can we go smaller?
*Wil ground excursions be wheelchair friendly in W. European large cities?
*Any suggestions on what ground excursions to engage in While in larger cities?
*Are there special articles I should make sure to purchase prior to the trip?
*Any special packing tips, purchases or clothing needs for a September European cruise.
*What kind of currency did you use in different cities?
*Was it costly to use a laptop while onboard ship?
*Cost saving ideas?
*Was English spoken in most spots?
*How much cash will we each need for a 2 week cruise with several ports of call?

Any and all suggestions welcomed and appreciated.
Hi greekgranny,
What ports will you be visiting? Will be happy to give some recommendations re: tours & currency in the cities/ports I have visited.
jill
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  #4  
Old February 1st, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Sauer-kraut Sauer-kraut is offline
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A full suite will be NICE, but there are Handicap classes of cabins that will be larger and will have a roll-in shower rather than the traditional step up to the bathroom. When you have decided on the cruise book immediately as HC cabins are very limited.

Also, European cities are OLD, there have been strides made to make them more accessible but after pushing my cousin in her chair in London, it was a bit of a struggle. Fortnum & Mason's has an elevator although at that time it was a tight squeeze for the chair and her pusher. The Ritz has a ramp into the area where the tea is served, but its quite an angle to push up. I would enquire into private tours that can be created to accommodate your limitations. There is a great board on C.C. for less able cruisers so you might find a lot of information over there.

Have a wonderful time! I would suggest you do a search for the chatter MeltingMoments she did a review of her NCL cruise with her DH who has mobility issues.

September is a lovely month to cruise! If you are doing Mediterranean it will still be warm so capris, skirts and a cardigan will be fine. If you are doing Baltics, pants, windbreaker and light layers will be appropriate.

Since we don't know where you are going: The Euro will get you around Greece, Germany, Italy, France, Spain. Kuna in Croatia, Crowns in Denmark, and if you are going to Turkey it will be Lira (?) so a credit card is your friend, Captial One offers a no transaction fee so that's what I use in Europe.

Computer connections on board ships is painfully slow, you pay by the minute (or a package of minutes) and it is just frustration to use. It is easier to just find an internet cafe in port and use their machines. Besides its a pain to drag a laptop around, it won't fit in the cabin safe so you can't really secure it anywhere.

English is spoken widely in Europe. You will find that people might not be willing to embarrass themselves but if you are patient and can manage with gestures you will be fine.
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Last edited by Sauer-kraut; February 1st, 2013 at 12:51 PM.
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