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We are planning a 90th b.d. family cruise w. for my Mom,an experienced traveller who has always wanted to see the Panama Canal. She can walk a mile or two w. a cane but stairs and uneven surfaces are rough for her. We would need to go in October and she is wondering if the heat and humidity would be too intense and if she can manage some shore excursions. Has anyone done this cruise with an elderly parent ? Any advice from anyone with a good perspective of how this would work with a more fragile passenger?Thanks!
It's alway hot in Panama...it's not far from the equator!
If you can find a cruise that does at least a "partial" transit, she'll never even need to get off the ship in Panama....the partial takes you through 3 sets of locks and will show you all you really need to see...and the canal navigator will be giving running commentary on what you're seeing, the history, engineering, etc. of the canal.
We loved staying onboard during our transit....many got off the ship for extremely long excursions, so we almost had the ship to ourselves! Very nice (and air-conditioned!!).
We took the cruise to Bermuda for my Mom's 88th birthday . We brought a wheelchair along . She is like your Mom in the fact that she can walk but gets tired . We hired vans (there were six of us ) and did private tours of the ports which worked out great . It was a little extra work but well worth it .
We did Panama Canal in the Fall. It was supposed to be rainy season, but we did not get much rain. I think it was slightly cooler in the Fall, but it was still hot. We cruised on Princess and took the Ecotour on a small tour boat on Gatun Lake which was fantastic. You got to really see all the birds and different species of trees and monkeys. I would recommend it, but you might want to check on transfer ability. I think there was a way for wheelchair access and tie down.
I had knee surgery shortly before trip, so I did not do much walking. Our hallway had at least 3 wheelchairs parked in it. Our 80 y.o. neighbor was recovering from a stroke and used the fitness center to do his PT routines. You might want to check that her chair or one you rent can go into the cabin. Do not rely on a ship's wheelchair for transfers either. The time I needed it I could not get on the list. I believe you can rent ahead and have the chair/scooter waiting in your cabin. I saw beach chairs with appropriate tires on my last cruise, but she may want to pass on the beaches. There are other threads on wheelchairs on Cruise Critic blogs for RCI.
I think that with the right preparation she'll have a good time. The transit through the canal may be enjoyed from the deck, diningroom or balcony cabin.
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We are 75+ seniors, wife can use wheelchair as a walker on the ship but has to be in the wheelchair for longer distances.
We just got back from a Panama Canal transit on Sea Princess, ending in S.F., 60 miles from home yesterday. We ate exclusively in the buffet to have a healthier diet, and gained no weight even though we stayed full the whole time.
Buffet on this ship turned out to be cramped for people with mobility problems. however that may be because of the large number of elderly and disabled on this trip.
90% of pax were over 60, many of them over 75, and the ship did not seem prepared for that many of us.
I'll soon start a new thread with more about this cruise, but for now, be sure to get all the info you can about excusions beforehand, not just from ship staff (who didn't always know) and from printed material but from others who've done the same excursions before. Excursions we took were more difficult than we expected.