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Need Help Fellow CC gurus! Which cruise line/boat for elderly grandparents?
For Christmas, we (my DH/MIL/FIL) purchased my DH's Grandparents Cruises as gifts.
A little history:
DH's Paternal Grandparents have been on the Soverign of the Seas. It only goes to Nassau and Coco Cay, so they have already been to poth ports. His Grandfather isn't really mobile, so we'll have to use a wheelchair for any extended periods of "walking". His Grandmother is in pretty good health.
DH's Maternal Grandparents have never been on a cruise, so they're just excited about the whole idea! His Grandfather is 80+, but is in VERY good shape for a man his age. His Grandmother is in pretty good health (but will drive everyone nuts with the non-stop random talking....).
We'll be bringing our daughter who will be 1 yr+ and on her second cruise (outside of the womb).
I guess in short, we're trying to find a nice short cruise, but we're sorta stuck as to which line/boat to use. We're faithful to RCCL because of the quality of boats, but we're looking at from the cost/boat/ease of elderly.
Anyone have any ideas?
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Mariner of the Seas (Fifth Voyage); December 14, 2003 Honeymoon Cruise!!
Sovereign of the Seas; October 8, 2004
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Legend of the Seas; March 10, 2007 !! Baby_Gamecock's First Cruise !!
Sovereign of the Seas; September 7, 2007
(dis)Enchantment of the Seas; September 29, 2007 (Cruise from Hell!)
Freedom of the Seas; April 27, 2008 !! Lady_G's Birthday Cruise !!
Sovereign of the Seas; September 12, 2008
Monarch of the Seas; July 3, 2009 (This cruise made me !)
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Sun; January 8, 2005
Century; December 15, 2005
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Emerald; January 7, 2011 Baby_Cocky's First Cruise!!
Crown; April 7, 2012
Well I have to say from all of the lines I have cruised on that Celebrity seems to be extremely accomodating to the elderly and to any one with special needs. Princess is good too, but on our Celebrity cruise there were many older folks and the line treated them all wonderfully. Also they just refurbed the Century. She is an older ship, but my friend just cruised on her and said it is a lovely ship. They offer four and five night Carib itineraries and are usually pretty reasonable.
And about the non stop random talking, well my 80+ parents both just moved in with me and let me just say....I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!!
"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine"--Caskie Stinnett
Check out the following for any itinerary / ship -
Tendering vs Docking. Tendering can be very intimidating for the elderly - their sense of balance is not as good as it is in younger folks and boarding the tender from the ship requires a person to do several rather streneous manuvers at the same time.
Ship's level upon which you board. At most large ports of de/embarkation, the ship boards at the same level so there is not a big incline. At other ports you may disembark on the one level and have to negotiate down three or four levels of incline - you may find yourselves pushing three or four wheelchairs back up! Get a really good cruise TA who can work as your intermediary - and be certain both you and s/he ask about the level of the ship at which you embark/debark at EACH port versus the level on land - even the best preserved 80+YO will not want to climb up a three or four level incline.
Number of elevators per pax.
How the public and cabin bathrooms are laid out - do they have grab bars?
Do the dining rooms have 'sunken' spots? Because of eyesight those one or two step changes in a room can be a real issue for the elderly.
Do any of the GP's have dietary restrictions or any special medical monitoring needs - most of these can be accommodated by any line, but do remember to ask/plan ahead.
Also - Many older people tend to 'shuffle' so be certain to remind them to pick up their feet while walking on the ship because there are a lot of raised thresholds.
With some good planning after asking LOTS of questions, this should be a great experience for all of you.
We like to get my grandparents a room that can be seen as the get out of the elevator (no risk of them getting turned around going forward when they should be going aft, etc). Also, we put up door decorations on their rooms so that they can find the room easily.
I also recommed a smaller ship, not one of the bigger ones, so that it is easier to navigate. My grandparents also prefer a balcony since they spend alot of time in their room (and also because they smoke).
I like dosi's suggestion of the Celebrity Century. Great ship, especially now that she has balconies.
Have fun. Cruising is the best multi-generational vacation!
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4-night Bahamas Cruise
Majesty of the Seas - December 3, 2007
11-night Mexican Riviera Cruise Celebrity Mercury - November 2006
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10-Night Panama Cruise Celebrity Century - November 2005
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You might also look at a Holland America ship. They seem to cater more to the older passenger like Celebrity does, but also have something for everyone. I agree that you should look at ports where the ship can dock as tendering can be dangerous for the mobility impaired.
That's a very generous gift and I am sure they are thrilled.
Location: North Georgia Now, but Born & Raised in Jersey
Unfortunately, speaking from experience, I also think a HAL ship is the best choice.
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I would also be sure to stay away from school vacation times. Don't get me wrong, this is a family board, I travel with my three kids. But, I would never ever take a cruise when kids are out of school. Our favorite time is late January, early February; or two weeks after easter. Most parents are leary about taking their kids out of school that soon after a break. I've never been on a ship with more than 100 kids!!! One cruise, there were only about 36 and six of them were mine and our friends. It's easier for elderly people to get around without all the ruckus kids bring.