Rome Airport....horrid! Their system for disabled passengers is terrible. The planes land on the tarmac. You have to wait for a special vehicle to get you off the plane and then onto a special bus. They separate husbands and wives if there are too many wheelchair/disabled persons. The bus takes you to the terminal and then you wait for a wheelchair. Please make sure you carry your own passport. I met my husband at the luggage carousel and went through passport control with the wheelchair assistant. The wheelchair assistant then "dropped me" at the luggage carousel and said good bye. My scooter came through "oversize baggage" We stood by the oversize door and no personnel would allow us inside nor would they check to see if the scooter was there. Finally, my husband in absolute exasperation insisted that someone open the door and there was my scooter just sitting there.
On our return home, we stayed at the Hilton Rome Airport. We asked Information how to get there because I was told it was within walking/scootering distance. He sent us to end of the terminal (a good 5 minute walk) to get a shuttle bus except they don't have a shuttle bus. The bus was for the Hilton Garden Inn. At no time did I say Garden Inn. We finally found someone who told us how to get there. It was not a 5 minute walk. It was more like a 15-20 minute walk (at my speed) from where we were and they don't have a regular shuttle bus.
Rome itself was fine. We used RomeInLimo as our personal guide and my scooter fit in the car no problem. Antonio was great. I was able to manage the cobblestones with good driving. At some places, he would park as close as possible and I would walk using my cane. The cab drivers were reluctant when they saw the scooter but once we showed them how it came apart there was no issue.
Tel Aviv Airport was better. It is more modern and they do use jetways. We had wheel chair assistance to the baggage carosel and again, my scooter came in the oversize. We had to wait a little bit for the scooter but at least we stayed together and they didn't desert me until I said it was O.K.
We had an outstanding tour guide in Israel, Joel Berman ([email protected]). He also taught the tour guides course for 2 years. I would have no hesitation recommending him. He drives a Kia Van and the scooter went in in tact. He was very respectful of my limitations and tried his utmost to re-do routes that I could use. Again, the scooter was outstanding and did the cobblerstones and hills of Jerusalem. It also managed quite nicely in Qumran (location of where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found), Masada, and all the museums were wheel chair/scooter accessible with elevators. If you are crusing to Israel, you need to contact him at least 6 months in advance. If he is not available, he knows the best of the tour guides (of course, he taught them) and would be able to recommend someone also with a large vehicle to accommodate wheelchairs or scooters. Even with my scooter, there was room for 4 people plus Joel in the van. He tells me that next year, he is buying a larger van which would accommodate 6 persons plus himself plus a scooter or wheel chair. Note....he does tours for all persons....able bodied and disabled.
There were times when I couldn't or wouldn't climb steep stairs without handrails. My husband then did that with Joel. However, I don't feel I missed anything and in fact Joel said that even with my limitations, I did more than most tour groups do.
I have to tell you I was very anxious about this trip. I didn't want to ruin it for my husband because there were things I could not do i.e. he went into the Dead Sea and I did not. I found the ground unstable for my footing but I was there and took pictures of him in the Sea. This trip has given me courage for our next adventure in Europe which is Azamara Journey next June starting in Amsterdam and ending in Stockholm which includes 2 days in St. Petersburg. We will also do the private tour route in St. Petersburg and I have contacted the tour companies already for pricing and info.
If you have any special questions, please do not hesitate to email me or respond to this thread and I will do my best to answer them for you. There are several cruises which include Rome and Israel. It would be best if you had some mobility but it is definitely doable.