Posted August 13th, 2012, 10:40 PM
Last edited by franski; August 13th, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I would strongly discourage your aunt from a trip like that. My wife is quite a bit younger, and has her mobility and vision intact. She finds it difficult to walk on the cobblestone streets in many of these towns.
We feel it would money not well spent as she probably could not keep up with the tour groups. The alternative would be to hire private cars to tour, but she would miss the interiors of places.
Also, the stairs on the river ships are quite steep, and she would have to deal with the
I must say I agree...
Your aunt could probably find a river boat that would meet her needs, as many do have elevators. But, she couldn't make it to the sun deck, wouldn't be able to enjoy the scenery (as a result of her diminished eye sight) and would be challenged to hear any commentary being provided. Most lines use VoxBox systems for shore excursions - and they do say that they can be used with hearing aids, but I haven't had that confirmed.
The cobblestones are brutal - even if you are sure-footed. And, many (if not most) of the buildings are not well set up for people with mobility issues. Lots of stairs everywhere. There is also the challenge of disembarking from the boat at some stops - as we have (on a few occasions) had to go the top deck to walk down a gang plank when the water level is low.
If she wants the experience of cruising the river - and would be content to stay on-board if the process for getting off on was too physically demanding, then I say "go for it"... But, she would need someone there to assist, and to work with the CD daily to identify appropriate excursions.
There was one gentleman on our Christmas market cruise that had a significant mobility issue following a stroke. His wife worked closely with the staff on the boat to identify which excursions he could manage. And, she always had an escape plan - just in case he got part way through the tour and felt he wanted to go back to the boat. Lots of money spent on taxis along the way, and he did stay on the boat a couple of days when there were concerns for his safety getting off the boat.
I wonder if your aunt would be better on a land tour - where you could build the excursions around her limitations with the help of a local guide. She could travel via train, and spend a few days in each of the cities that she wants to see.
If she really wants to cruise, then I would start with the deck plans of the boats (look for boats that have elevators, and easy access to the dining room) - and then look at starting a discussion with the various lines.
Good luck with your planning!!