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About VirginiaIsForCruisers

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Star Trek, Reading, Music, Greyhound Adoption
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  1. The only spa I've been in is on the Jade, so I can't compare it with other ships. I had a thermal spa pass in January 2019. I thought the spa was nice. The women's only area included a decent sized hot tub with jets and bubbles, several loungers, a steam room, a cold plunge pool, plus nice showers and lockers. The coed area had a larger hot tub with recliners in the tub, several heated loungers, and a small refreshment area. My only quibbles were that I wish there were more heated loungers and that the coed hot tub was easier to enter/exit (I am mobility challenged). The whole spa area looked reasonably fresh, so I assume it was updated in the last dry dock. Edited to add: you can ask to tour before buying. I did so to verify I could get in and out of the different tubs.
  2. On my first NCL cruise in January 2018, I had some OBC, so I signed up for the shuttle. I'm mobility challenged and when the wheelchair pusher dropped me off in front of the terminal, there was a massive line for the shuttle. He told me it would be at least an hour wait. I can't stand for that long, so I hobbled across the street to the taxi stand. Even by myself, the taxi was only a few dollars more than the shuttle. Especially with a group of young kids, I wouldn't want to wait in a long line for the shuttle. I love the Marriott Residence Inn by the airport. It's a nice hotel and in a little gated community with other Marriott properties. They have a paid shuttle to the port.
  3. I asked the same question and was told that in some ports, if you call them early enough, they can get another scooter to you, if there isn't a replacement on board. That's why I make sure to check it out as soon as possible, which has been about three hours before sail away. The ship's maintenance staff may also be able to help fix an issue if they are put in touch with the vendor by Guest Services. Of course, any work would have to be approved by the vendor through GS. I had a problem with my cane on my last cruise (I use the cane to walk short distances). I went to GS and they had a maintenance man fix it in a few hours. I made sure to fill out vacation hero cards for the maintenance man and the GS employee because they were so helpful.
  4. Thank you for your wonderful review. I truly want to do a Canada/New England cruise and your review gave me a great idea about what to expect! I've been wanting to go to the September 11th memorial in New York. I live near the Pentagon and have been to the one there. I've also been to the one in Shanksville, PA when I visited friends in the area. Both are very nicely done.
  5. I've used both Special Needs (SNAS) and Scootaround. For my January 2018 cruise on NCL, I used SNAS, because they were the only "authorized" provider for NCL. For my January 2019 cruise on NCL, I used Scootaround, because they were the new "authorized" provider. Both were fine. Scootaround was way cheaper (about $100) for the same sized scooter from the same port at the same time of year, even considering they charge separately for insurance. Both had the equipment on the ship when promised. The SNAS scooter was in slightly better shape, but both were fine. The only hiccup I had with either was that I had paid for a cane holder to be on the scooter from Scootaround. It was not on the scooter. When I called customer service, they copped a bit of an attitude with me, but refunded that part of the rental (I think it was $10). I recently called to reserve my scooter for a March 2020 cruise out of Miami. This time, SNAS was almost $80 less than Scootaround. I've never rented from Scoot Anywhere. Once on the ship, you can ask guest services if there is a place other than your cabin where you can leave the scooter when you disembark. On both of my NCL cruises, they told me it was fine to leave it in the Bliss lounge. I was nervous about it the first time, since the instructions were to leave it in the cabin, but when I got to Bliss, there were at least 30 scooters there. This was a huge help for me, because just getting from my aft cabin to the debarkation area in the forward area was going to be a problem. In my case, I needed wheelchair assistance for embarkation and debarkation, the Bliss lounge was the gathering point for wheelchair debarkation assistance. It's a good idea to test the scooter as soon as possible after you can get to your cabin. If you still have some time in port, they can resolve issues before the sailing. One woman on my last cruise didn't test right away (she was a little more mobile) and she had a problem with her scooter cutting off randomly every few minutes. I did not have any issues with either scooter and used them constantly.
  6. Oh, I stand in the scanner. But because of implanted medical devices, I always get flagged. Some of the TSA agents are ... thorough. Those agents will put on gloves and start at one ankle, feeling all the way up that leg, feel my private parts, then down the other (I have two artificial knees). Then they will pat from just under my breasts to my hips, all the way around my torso (I have implanted mesh all through my torso). The whole time this is going on, I have to hold my arms out parallel to the ground. It's really awful, especially in front of an audience.
  7. I'm female and in my 50s. I normally fly out of IAD and have considered asking the TSA agents there to buy me dinner after being felt up so thoroughly. I agree that MIA has been polite but terse. The nicest TSA folks I've ever dealt with were at MSP and SGF. The agent at SGF kept apologizing for inconveniencing me and seemed genuinely upset that she had to pat me down that I wanted to hug her.
  8. Both times I've been through customs in the last year, the only question I've been asked is whether I have anything to declare. The customs officials have been polite and professional to me. It's a nice change of pace because I get felt up by TSA every time I go to an airport because I have multiple implanted medical devices that set off alerts. I've also been pulled aside by TSA at the gate for "random additional screening", meaning a second series of groping..excuse me, pat downs...and a thorough review of every single thing in my carry on.
  9. I've been on the Jade twice and love it. I don't care for the big ship stuff (rock climbing walls, big slides, etc). I enjoy the Spinnaker lounge, which is comfortable and has a great view. I also love the Great Outdoors, especially for afternoon snacks. The Bliss ultra lounge is also an enjoyable venue. All-in-all, it's a nice ship.
  10. The Jade had the pasta station when I traveled on her in January.
  11. On the Jade, there are poles in handicapped balcony cabins 9150 and 9650. They are a challenge in the handicapped cabins if you are trying to navigate with a mobility device and have multiple people in the cabin.
  12. I can't speak to Princess-specific, but I strongly encourage you to rent a scooter from either Special Needs at Sea or Scootaround. Ships are huge and it's a long walk to and fro. Also, there are many times you may have to stand and wait in line. Having a scooter makes it doable. If you are not used to mobility equipment, and have full use of your arms, I'd recommend a scooter over a powerchair (electric wheelchair). Scooters are a little more forgiving for new users. Powerchairs are managed via a joystick. That joystick is VERY sensitive. I've written about it on CC before, but I almost ran a friend's powerchair into the local pool because I didn't realize how sensitive that joystick is. If you have a medical supply store near you, you can go and try one or more to see how you like them. The other things I prefer about scooters are: there are more places to put your feet/move your legs, and the hopper in front gives you a little buffer between you and other people. You'll want to get the accessible cabin sooner, rather than later as they do fill up fast. I appreciate the roll in shower with chair because I have a hard time swinging my legs over the side of a tub.
  13. I've only sailed on NCL, but will be going on an RCL cruise next year. The NCL jewel class ships are great in that there aren't a lot of the inaccessible features you mention. There are promenade decks, however, that are wonderful. They also have three elevator banks (forward, midship, and aft). The most difficult part of the jewel class ships is access to the aft MDR. It's only accessible via stairs or a single elevator. Since both MDRs serve the same menu, I just go to the midship MDR, which is easily accessible. I also love the Great Outdoors, the outdoor buffet at the aft of the ship, which is a lovely place to hang out. One tip: cabins 9150 and 9650 (both are accessible cabins) have a wacky pole right in the middle of the cabin, which makes it tough to get around with a mobility device. 9148 and 9648 are much better as they don't have the pole. I've always had the majority of the crew be super helpful. Whenever I've been in the buffet, at least one team member will hurry over and offer to hold my plate and/or cup and escort me to one of the handicapped seats. I can walk a short ways and really wanted to see Grand Cayman, which is only accessible via tender. As my cabin was a long way from the tender platform, I went down in the scooter and asked if there was somewhere I could leave it so I wouldn't be too exhausted. The crew was so kind, they let me park the scooter just a few feet from the gangway. It made the trip so much nicer. The cabin steward on my first cruise would see me from 20 cabins away and sprint to me, shouting, "Miss Virginia, Miss Virginia!! Let me get the door for you". I think you'll find helpful crew on most ships.
  14. Please consider renting a scooter or powerchair. It makes the cruise so much more enjoyable if you aren't hurting or struggling. You don't indicate which port you'd be sailing from. Some have places outside the port where you can pick up the scooter or chair, others require you to use wheelchair assistance to get on the ship and the scooter or chair is left in your room. I understand feeling embarrassed, as I did the first time I required assistance, but you deserve to enjoy your trip just as much as anyone else. It's nice to feel a little more independence if you have a mobility device.
  15. It could very well be a charter -- in 2020 there are two full ship charters (Star Trek The Cruise and the 80s Cruise) on Explorer in early March. It is likely they are working on reserving the ships for the same time frame for the 2021 season.
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