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VirginiaIsForCruisers

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  1. I've never asked for anything off menu, but after reading here, I told one of my travel buddies about the ability to make requests. He loves insanely hot and spicy food, so he asked for whatever they had that was "Indian hot". The waiter asked if he was sure and the first night only brought a small amount of a curry. When he saw my friend inhale it, the waiter said he'd fix him up every night and did so with generous helpings. My friend said he was in heaven the whole week.
  2. I can't speak to the Equinox or Celebrity, but when I was on an NCL ship that stopped at Grand Cayman, I couldn't take my scooter on the tender, but needed it to get to and from the tender area. I asked crew manning Guest Services and Shore Excursions, neither of whom were helpful. I went down and talked to the crew who were running the debarkation area and asked if they could help me. They found a little area about 10 feet from the ramp where I could park out of the way of traffic and kept an eye on it for me. It made the day doable for me. I have found that most of the crew really seem to want to help.
  3. I normally sail solo. I love it. I love quiet, so I spend quite a bit of time on my balcony, enjoying a book and the breeze. I have no problem eating by myself and it's nice being able to go where I want, when I want. At shows, it's quite easy to chat with passengers near me and I've met some great people. It's also nice to not have to share the bathroom! The first time I went alone, I was a bit scared, but ended up having a blast. I hope you have a similar experience.
  4. I sailed on Explorer in March 2020, just before the pandemic shut down the cruising world. The ship was scheduled for a dry dock and "amplification" three weeks after my cruise, so I was not surprised that there were many components that were tired and needed attention. I assumed that things would be freshened up at that time. The cruise I was on was a charter, so there were no children and the child-centric parts of the ship were closed for the week. The good: For the most part, the crew was friendly and very helpful. My cabin steward was wonderful. The waiters we had most nights (the charter had open seating at dinner) were great, moving chairs as soon as they saw us (two handicapped people were in our party) and bringing our preferred beverages without us asking as soon as we were seated. They were also quick to suggest menu items based on what we had before. There's a pretty good flow to the ship. Being wheelchair-bound, I can get "stuck" in an area if there are few elevators. The only place where it was a problem was if I was going from an event in the ice rink directly to an event in the theater. That would force me to go to the elevators and go up to another deck to traverse the ship as the ice rink cuts deck three in half and there's only one way out. The rest of the ship was pretty easy to get around. I liked the library, especially since it was very close to my cabin. It was in a central location, not tucked off in a dark corner somewhere. The hallways were much wider than some other ships I've been on. Being in a mobility device, it can be a challenge to navigate hallways, especially when the stewards' carts are there or when someone leaves a tray of dirty dishes out. I liked the fact that there were bars at the back of the theater, that made it easier to go get a beverage. I've been on ships where you have to leave the theater to get a beverage. The food was pretty good. I'm not into gourmet meals, so what was served was fine with me. I liked the solarium area. It was a little calmer and quieter than the main pool area. I liked the ice rink. It's a nice venue and a cool place to be. I liked that the ship is not too big. I'm not a fan of mega ships. The bad: The aforementioned maintenance issues. My cabin was very worn and one of the closet doors fell off twice, almost striking me in the head. I had the door propped open the first time as I was just coming in, the steward saw it and came running. He propped a chair against it, made sure I wasn't injured, and contacted maintenance to come right away. They were there very quickly and fixed it. Unfortunately, it happened again on the last night. There were also many places around the ship that needed attention. They didn't detract from the cruise, but were definitely present. I believe that if the ship hadn't been scheduled for a dry dock, those items would have been addressed before they became so noticeable. I hated the layout of the buffet. It led to several bottlenecks at every meal. The area at the end, with the two separate stations, was especially bad because there was not much space between them and the railing. Explorer is the only Royal ship I've been on thus far, so I don't know if that layout is the norm. I guess I'll find out when my trip on Mariner comes early in 2022. I'm not a big fan of the layout of the theater for handicapped passengers. The sightlines are tough and the handicapped area, while large, is right at the entryway, so you often get people congregating in the lobby talking loudly right behind you, making it tough to hear. If I could have navigated the stairs, I would have sat down a few rows and avoided the issue. The Promenade is a great idea and can be a lot of fun, but it also gets pretty loud. I can't imagine staying in a promenade view cabin. I hope this info helps. Explorer is a fine ship and I'd be happy to sail on her again, assuming that the dry dock/amplification happens.
  5. No matter which way you want to go, get on the first elevator possible when one stops. If you're trying to go up, go ahead and take a down elevator if it comes first, it will eventually go back up and you'll already be on it. Pack your patience following big events, like the sail away party and the evening shows. I don't even attempt to go near the elevators for at least 30 minutes afterwards. I hang out on deck or in the theater. Your chair is pretty maneuverable. If possible, try to spin around after entering the elevator so you can face the doors. Pulling out is much safer and easier than backing out. I've used a scooter in the past (which had too big a turning radius), and had to back out, almost running over people who were crowding the doors trying to get in. By the way, I travel by myself and am in a chair. The first cruise was scary, but now it's great. Enjoy your trip!
  6. @CRUISEWITHH-- did that stateroom have a step in shower or a bathtub? I can't lift my leg over the side of a tub, but can do a step in shower.
  7. I tend to prefer relatively smaller ships, but I was not very happy on Explorer when I cruised on one of her last cruises pre-Covid (March 2020). Many of the employees were great, especially the hysterically funny washy-washy guy, Jaime, at the Windjammer entrance during dinner and late night. Most employees tried to do their jobs with a smile. However, the ship was in pretty rough shape. I can handle tired decor and some missed maintenance, but it was surprisingly bad. As an example, one of my closet doors came off and almost hit me in the head. My cabin steward saw it and grabbed it just in time. He had maintenance come and fix it immediately. Two days later, the other closet door fell off. Also, my cabin was on the same floor as the library and several of the chairs were broken or unsteady. I remember reading a very negative review right before I sailed. I took it with a grain of salt because the poster seemed to be nit-picking about cosmetic issues and have a grudge against Royal. I hope I'm not coming across that way. I actually booked another trip on Explorer for March 2021 and was really looking forward to it, since it was supposed to have been sent to drydock/amplification last spring. Obviously that trip isn't happening. I'm sure you'll have a great trip, no matter which one you choose!
  8. What about rented scooters? I think the rental companies would have a problem with renters welding things onto their equipment.
  9. On both my trips on the Jade, my internet connectivity in my cabin (I was on deck nine near the aft elevators) was probably the best I experienced on the ship. The worst was in the theater. I couldn't get connectivity there at least 90% of the time. I hope you enjoy the Jade as much as I did. She's a lovely ship.
  10. I've done the Star Trek Cruise three times and am booked for the 2022 cruise that was rescheduled from 2021. They are great fun! Everyone on board has shared interests. I love the non-stop specialty programming all day and well into the night. The charter company even uses a few of the TV channels for 24/7 Star Trek episodes and movies, so you can stay in the mood if you go take a break in your cabin. At least on the Star Trek Cruise, almost every venue is taken, so there are no "regular" cruiseline shows and activities, everything is Star Trek. In fact, the cruise director is not the ship's regular CD, he is an employee of the charter company. Most of the bars and some of the restaurants are converted to a Star Trek theme. The spa is still available, as is the casino and art gallery. I don't recall seeing anyone in the gallery the times I walked through and the casino was very sparsely occupied. I've never been on one of the music charters, though I keep thinking about going on the Disco cruise.
  11. I always ask the steward for a door stop as soon as I get to the room. Of course that would be a problem if i couldn't stand or walk a few steps, but luckily I can. I should probably just go ahead and buy my own doorstop, but I don't want to have to remember to bring one more thing.
  12. I was shocked how narrow the cabin hallways on the NCL Jade were. There were times it took me four or five tries going forward and backing up to get the exact right angle to enter my accessible room. The hallways on the RCL Explorer were significantly larger and I only had to do the back and forth maybe twice in a week-long trip. Also, on the Jade, if there was a housekeeping cart or dirty dishes from room service in the hallway, I was trapped until I could get someone to move them. On the Explorer, I had no trouble clearing those obstacles.
  13. I am a large woman. I can walk a little, so I usually ask for a table close to the entrance and park my scooter out of the way. Ship personnel will not be able to lift her. I ask for a chair without arms in the dining room. As for the theater, I can only speak to the ships I've been on (NCL Jade and RCL Explorer). There is a handicapped seating section in the theater. I stay in the scooter for shows as theater seats are tough on me, both from a width perspective and because I need to be able to move my legs freely. I've only been on charters, so the charter company handles approval to sit in the handicapped section, but I assume on a regular cruise, you'd go through the accessibility office. Be forewarned that the handicapped section is at the back of the theater, so you're a ways back.
  14. The tour I took did have a small place for a folding wheelchair -- one man on my tour had one. But it was not a fully accessible tour as we had to climb steps into the bus. I would suggest verifying ahead of time and again on the ship at the excursions desk. It's best if you can arrange an accessible tour, because they will be more likely to have space for a chair. Accessible Caribbean Vacations offers an accessible tour of Grand Cayman.
  15. I can only report my experience with Grand Cayman. I was on the NCL Jade in January 2019. I use a bariatric scooter, but can walk a very short distance and can do some stairs. The scooter was most definitely not allowed, though they said if I had one of the tiny models that fold up, they are sometimes permitted. The tender had two levels. When we left the ship, we entered and exited on the second level and there was a long ramp when we got to GC. It was a bit of an uphill hike to get to the excursions area, but I was able to sit for a while in the NCL tented area to catch my breath. There were no wheelchairs or aides visible. On the return trip, the tender had us enter on the bottom level and we had to climb the stairs to get to the level to enter the ship. The tender crew was very nice and had everyone wait to get on the stairs so I could go up without being mobbed. I probably could have waited for another tender, in hopes it would be the one that would let me enter and exit on the second story, but it was hot and I wanted to get back on the ship. If you would be able to handle carrying a folding wheelchair up and/or down the stairs on the tender, and your wife could do the flight of stairs, you could consider renting a folding wheelchair. I would suggest, if you do, make sure to be back at the tender WAY early, in case you need to wait for another tender. I hope you are able to go the Grand Cayman. I had a wonderful day there.
  16. Yes, I meant Royal Caribbean. Specifically the Explorer of the Seas. I asked if I could be taken to my cabin and was told no. I was dropped near the first elevator bank we encountered after getting on the ship.
  17. The cruises I've sailed on NCL, I used wheelchair assistance. They deposit wheelchair users either in the buffet or O'Sheehan's pub and you have to hobble your way to your cabin once they are open. I recently went on Royal for the first time and they deposited me about 20 feet inside the ship from the gangway. I went to the buffet for some place to sit while waiting for the cabin to open.. I've read that some cruiselines will let you go directly to your cabin, but I don't know which ones. You could get around it by not boarding until after 1PM, which seems to be when cabins are generally available. You could ask the wheelchair pusher to take you to your cabin then. I know that Special Needs at Sea has kiosks outside the ships for certain cruiselines and ports. I would love that because it would eliminate the need for a wheelchair to board. Once on board, talk to Guest Services about debarkation. The scooter company will tell you to leave the scooter in your cabin, but you can actually leave it in the public area where those needing wheelchair assistance to debark are staged. That is such a huge help.
  18. I know this thread is from last year, but I wanted to thank @kokopelli-az for this info. I just came back from a cruise that stopped in St. Thomas. I use a bariatric scooter. I booked a tour with ICBW and it was fabulous. Not only did Larry get my scooter in his van, but he agreed to take a friend who is in a folding powerchair with me. He was gracious and helpful.
  19. I rented from Scootaround last year and asked for a cane holder. It wasn't on the scooter. They refunded the cost of the holder, but it was annoying. This year, I decided to bring my own holder. I found this on Amazon. I just came back from a cruise and it was wonderful, I was able to use the holder to keep my cane handy, but out of the way. I wrapped it around the turn signal on the scooter.
  20. The Star Trek cruise is on Explorer from March 7-14, 2021.
  21. I flew from Washington DC to Miami on 2/29 for a cruise and flew back today. Both flights were completely full. In fact, today's flight was oversold and they offered four people money to be bumped.
  22. I was just in San Juan this week. I use a scooter. A friend in a powerchair and I went around the port area and the first two streets of old town. It was rough. As was noted earlier, curb cuts are not always there and some are very steep. Also, the cobblestones make for rough riding. The sidewalks are narrow. Finally, old town is very steep. It was scary coming back down hill. In fact, another woman from my cruise had her scooter overturn in old town and broke her shoulder. I can't help with the other ports.
  23. I'm dating myself here. Back in the day, before we had a clothes dryer, we had one a similar bag that hung on the clothesline. It stored clothespins to hang your clothes on the line. It was mesh so rain wouldn't collect in the bottom of the bag.
  24. I've rented from both Scootaround and Special Needs at Sea. They are both fine. The price varies based on port, date, and number of days. I don't think either rents folding scooters. I second @kokopelli-az 's suggestion to try practicing with a grocery store scooter. A big difference is that the scooter you rent will have a speed knob -- grocery store scooters don't. Until your husband is very comfortable, keep it on a slower speed.
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