Teen Wheelchair user and best cruise line & ports

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#1
Parkton, NC.
598 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Hi my name is Patty, Unfortunately my daughter who is 12 had a spinal stroke on June 2, that has left her a paraplegic. We have a cruise that was booked before all this happened for NCL getaway western, but not sure if this is our best choice. By the time the cruise comes around, next August, she should be profeciant in transfers and self care. I am just afraid there will be either not the best ship or cruise line to pick or best ports to pick. Any info will be helpful.
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First Cruise Conquest 7/9/2006
Dream 7/24/2010
Fascination 8/6/2011
Glory 12/2012
RCCL first and last 6/2013
#2
Coastal GA USA
21,791 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
You will need a handicapped accessible cabin. If you don't have one, you should book quickly, as there are never enough. The western itinerary does not appear to have any tender ports, so although I don't know how accessible the ports themselves are, at least she can go ashore. EM
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Booked: Carnival Fascination 10/8/17; Carnival Elation 12/11/17;Carnival Splendor 1/14/18
Carnival Magic 8/26/17 8 nites
Carnival Pride B2B 21 nites 2/19/17 Caribbean
Carnival Glory 8/27/16
MSC Divina 5/7/16
Carnival Fascination 22 Feb 2016 Bahamas
MSC Divina 11/20-23/2013 Bahamas
Coral Princess 17 July 2013 Alaska
Celebrity Silhouette 22 May 2013 Adriatic & Italy
Queen Elizabeth 15 May 2013 4 nights
Celebrity Infinity 16 April 2013 B2B San Diego to Harwich
Nieuw Amsterdam Mediterranean 4/30 - 5/24/2012
Millennium B2B2B 2/6-20/2012 Caribbean
Caribbean Princess 10/29/2011 Caribbean Islander NY to FLL
Celebrity Solstice 5/1/2011 FLL to Barcelona
Carnival Fascination 2/28/11 Bahamas
QM 2 12/8/2010 Caribbean Delights
Celebrity Summit 10/24/10 B2B NY to San Juan
Emerald Princess 8/29/10 Western Caribbean
Diamond Princess 5/29/10 B2B Alaska
Westerdam 2/7/10 Eastern & Southern Caribbean
Carnival Dream 10/27/09 Transatlantic
Carnival Sensation 6/18/09 Bahamas
Carnival Splendor 5/17/09 B2B Mexi-not to Canada
Oosterdam 2/28/09 San Diego to Rome 32 nights
Carnival Fascination 12/13/08 Bahamas
QE 2 7/31/08 Lands of Fire and Ice
Celebration 3/27/08 Bahamas
Celebration 1/26/08 Bahamas
Norwegian Spirit 10/20/07 CTN
Elation 4/23/07 B2B Bahamas
Zenith 8/2006 Bermuda
Calypso 7/2005 Greek Isles
Star Princess Inaugural 2/2002 Pacific Rim Singapore to LA 26 nights
Millennium 8/2000 Baltic
Fantasy 6/1999 Bahamas
Royal Princess 1/1999 Buenos Aires to Manaus
Home Lines Oceanic x 2 1973 NYC to Nassau 7 nights
Homes Lines Homeric x2 Eastern Caribbean 1972 10 nights
#3
Missouri
137 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Many beaches have beach wheelchairs that can be pushed in sand (unlike a regular chair) available, so when choosing destinations, that's something to consider. The Getaway is a very accessible ship, save the narrow corridors by the rooms. It even has automatic doors on accessible cabins. I agree to contact NCL and see if you can be moved to an accessible cabin. It will make cruising better as the bathroom will be accessible for her.

I once came across a great website by google search for cruising for wheelchair users. It had recommendations for excursion vendors that had WC vans, reviews of specific ports for accessibility, and other great suggestions. Good luck and I think a trip would be good for you both after her rehabiliation. It's a tough transition.

I saw this post below, it might also be helpful http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2274019
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Laura
Looking for my next cruise


RC Liberty of the Seas 6/2018
NCL Getaway 5/2015
#4
Wyoming
1,060 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I totally agree on switching to an accessible cabin. In fact, if you can't get one for your currently planned cruise, I would urge you to change cruises. The extra room and accessible features really make a difference!

All the mass-market cruise lines are quite accessible. I have cruised on Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Pearl. Oasis was extremely accessible and getting around the ship was easy. Pearl was very accessible but sometimes the accessibility was hidden. For instance, one of the MDRs had a main entrance between floors - it looked like the only way to get in was to go up the stairs from one floor or down the stairs from the floor above, both obviously impossible for me on my scooter. But eventually I found out that there is an access from the lower floor, BUT to get there, I had to take an elevator from our room level to the level 7 (the only level with an easy route from the front of the ship to the rear - the other floors had corridors that were usually blocked by stewards' carts), scoot the length of the ship to the far rear elevator, then take THAT elevator down to level 6 where the restaurant entrance was. The corridors on level 6 did not run the full length of the ship, so that was the only way that particular restaurant was accessible. The other MDR, the buffet, and the premium restaurants were all truly accessible. The Pearl also had more and higher bumps in the walkways than I remember on Oasis. We upgraded to a non-accessible suite on the Pearl (for the extra room) and the door sills were high enough to be a challenge to scoot over. (Not blaming the Pearl for that, and it was my choice to try for a suite knowing it wasn't accessible, just providing information.) The boutique lines vary; for instance, I have read comments on here that European river cruises are a bad idea for wheelchair users, the ships aren't very accessible and typically ships don't dock directly on a dock, they dock to another ship and passengers may have to cross 3-4 ships to get to land and even then face steep steps up to street level!

IIRC, Western Caribbean is pretty accessible for beaches but more of a challenge to find accessible excursions. (I have not done that circuit, hopefully some of those who have will chime in.) You might want to look into Eastern Caribbean, several of the ports have accessible excursions and I was even able to do the dolphin encounter on Nassau. (I don't know if your daughter can get onto the boat, I am able to take a few steps.) I don't think I would recommend Alaska, at least for a first trip. At least one of the excursions that is labelled "accessible" involved taking a wheelchair down a very steep ramp! I'd suggest saving that for later, when you are all more used to what she can and cannot manage and what to ask operators about tours you are considering.

I don't know if this is feasible, but I would suggest asking her doctor if she could use a scooter. If medically acceptable and if she is willing to learn to adapt to it, it would be a wonderful way to give her some independence. There are very lightweight scooters on the market now (50-60 lbs) that are easy to transport - I brought mine as well as my wheelchair on my last cruise, and it got me through the airports as well as around the ship and on some excursions. (Some only permit manual wheelchairs.)

Also, talk to the accessible desk about how accessible the youth programs are. I suspect they will be completely accessible but you want to make sure before finalizing your plans, and I keep reading reports on here that the kids love the youth programs. You want to make sure your daughter can enjoy them if she chooses.
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Most of the members here are great! But when you get tired of incorrect information from unhelpful posters, the Ignore List is your friend!
Norwegian Pearl May 21, 2017 - Alaska
First cruise EVER on RCL Oasis of the Seas July 27, 2013 - Eastern Caribbean
#5
Western Washington
5,024 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
It even has automatic doors on accessible cabins.
This is a bigger issue for us than we ever thought. Royal Caribbean also has door openers and we found recently on Holland America how much we missed this feature. My wife literally could not get out of the cabin on her own. Worth checking with the accessibility department at any cruise lines being considered.
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HAL - Oosterdam - June 11, 2017, Alaska
RCCL - Mariner of the Seas - May 2012 - TA Miami to Rome
RCCL - Serenade of the Seas February 12, 2011 - So. Caribbean
RCCL - Brilliance of the Seas- April 13, 2008 TA Miami to London
HAL - Veendam - June 16, 2002, Alaska
At the moment I have half a mind to go look for the rest
#6
North West NJ
4,884 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by armywifefisher
Hi my name is Patty, Unfortunately my daughter who is 12 had a spinal stroke on June 2, that has left her a paraplegic. We have a cruise that was booked before all this happened for NCL getaway western, but not sure if this is our best choice. By the time the cruise comes around, next August, she should be profeciant in transfers and self care. I am just afraid there will be either not the best ship or cruise line to pick or best ports to pick. Any info will be helpful.
Wow I have not seen you on CC in ages. I am so terribly sorry about your daughter. I have her in my prayers and hope her path in life is a safe one.
#7
6,635 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Sequim88
This is a bigger issue for us than we ever thought. Royal Caribbean also has door openers and we found recently on Holland America how much we missed this feature. My wife literally could not get out of the cabin on her own. Worth checking with the accessibility department at any cruise lines being considered.
Important to note that only RCCL's Vision Class Ships and Radiance Class Ships have automatic door openers on accessible cabins.
#8
6,635 Posts
Joined May 2009
[quote=armywifefisher;53416233]Hi my name is Patty, Unfortunately my daughter who is 12 had a spinal stroke on June 2, that has left her a paraplegic. We have a cruise that was booked before all this happened for NCL getaway western, but not sure if this is our best choice. By the time the cruise comes around, next August, she should be profeciant in transfers and self care. I am just afraid there will be either not the best ship or cruise line to pick or best ports to pick. Any info will be helpful.[/quote

Being that this is a newexperience , perhaps you might consider booking the cruise through a travelagent that specializes in Disability Travel especially cruise. Though there are many 2 that seem to do itwell are:
  • AccessibleCaribbean Vacations http://www.accessiblecaribbeanvacations.com/contact-us/ John Sage who owns this agency is also aparaplegic. This good site to use to determineport accessibility (click on “Port Accessibility Reviews) when selecting anitinerary.
  • Easy AccessTravel http://easyaccesstravel.com/ Believe they plan group cruises for peoplewith Spinal Cord Injuries .
  • Disclaimer : Have not used nor am affiliated with either of thesecompanies.

The following websitesoffers a lot of good information regarding living and traveling with a SpinalCord Injury.
http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/NM_Jun_16.pdf If nothing else you might want to register to receiveits magazine as it provides a wealth of information.


This websiteprovides a lot of links to resources in general that you may find helpful overtime: https://www.medstargoodsam.org/our-services/rehabilitation/treatments/spinal-cord-rehabilitation/resources-for-spinal-cord-injury-patients/#q={}

For consideration when booking :
  • IMHO cruising isa very good option for anyone living with a disability. Yes there will be timesobstacles may have to be worked out as with any travel but for the most partit’s very doable. Overall I think itwill be a very enjoyable time. My 13year old nephew who has been disabled from birth went on his first cruise this past February and he didn’t wantit to end.
  • In theory thenewer the build of the ship the more accessible it will be.
  • With theexception of NCL’s Pride of America which is registered to the USA, sails underthe USA Flag and is permanently based in the USA (Hawaii) all cruise ships areforeign flagged ships in which ADA applies only on limited basis in referenceto ships embarking from a USA. With thatstates ADA only applies to the public areas of the ship. However to the extent that ADA applies to thepublic areas of the ship for new builds has yet to be determine by USACongress.
  • A “FullyAccessible Cabin is a must but there is more to take into consideration whenbooking an accessible cabin.
    • Carnival hasmulti classifications of Accessible Cabins and Holland American has FullyAccessible as well a Modified Accessible cabin. All other cruise lines haveonly “Fully Accessible Cabins.
    • Automatic cabindoor openers are far and few between. Therefore if that’s needed you will haveto check directly with the cruise line. For example RCCL has automatic cabin door openers only on its Radiance Class Shipsand Vision Class Ships.
    • Whether thetoilet grab bar are on the right or left side of the toilet when seated isimportant to know as your daughter my favor a specific side from which totransfer. RCCL posts this information on link when viewing the deck. For all other cruise lines you’ll need tocontact their Special Needs Department.
    • You might want toconsider bringing or renting a shower wheelchair. Reason being the fold downshower seats are not always the best tosafely transfer to.
    • Very fewaccessible cabins will accommodate more than 2 passengers. Rollaway beds are generally not allowed inAccessible Cabins as the floor space is required for the wheelchair.
  • If your daughterlikes to be in the water than makecertain the ship selected at least one poolwith a chair lift. For example:
    • Disney’s poolshave lifts.
    • RCCL ships haveone pool and one hot tub with a chair lift fleet wide.
  • Try to select anyitinerary that has no tender ports. Wheelchairs and scooters are no allowed on tenders if there is no roll-oncapability. Even if the tender does haveroll-on capabilities it’s at the Captain discretion if passengers with any typeof mobility equipment are allowed to board
  • It was suggestedby another poster to check into the possibility of your daughter using amobility scooter. Scooters are generallynotrecommended nor a safe option for paraplegics. Therefore you shouldonly listen to her doctor, OccupationalTherapist and Physical Therapist to determine what is the best and safest mobility devicefor your daughter. On the unlikely chance that a mobility scooter would beapproved it’s not the most convenient option to use table side.. A manual chair or power chair will allowbetter flexibility to pull right up the table to dine or do any other activity.
P.S a big thank you goes out to your husband for his service !!!
#9
Parkton, NC.
598 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by champagne123
Wow I have not seen you on CC in ages. I am so terribly sorry about your daughter. I have her in my prayers and hope her path in life is a safe one.
Yes it has been awhile to many thing has happened from husbands twin brother passing away to both mine and his dad having stage 4 cancer and now this. This cruise was suppose to happen this year but didn't due to my dad just getting dignosised so rebooked it for next yr.
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First Cruise Conquest 7/9/2006
Dream 7/24/2010
Fascination 8/6/2011
Glory 12/2012
RCCL first and last 6/2013
#10
Parkton, NC.
598 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
[quote=xxoocruiser;53419384]
Originally posted by armywifefisher
Hi my name is Patty, Unfortunately my daughter who is 12 had a spinal stroke on June 2, that has left her a paraplegic. We have a cruise that was booked before all this happened for NCL getaway western, but not sure if this is our best choice. By the time the cruise comes around, next August, she should be profeciant in transfers and self care. I am just afraid there will be either not the best ship or cruise line to pick or best ports to pick. Any info will be helpful.[/quote

Being that this is a newexperience , perhaps you might consider booking the cruise through a travelagent that specializes in Disability Travel especially cruise. Though there are many 2 that seem to do itwell are:
  • AccessibleCaribbean Vacations http://www.accessiblecaribbeanvacations.com/contact-us/ John Sage who owns this agency is also aparaplegic. This good site to use to determineport accessibility (click on “Port Accessibility Reviews) when selecting anitinerary.
  • Easy AccessTravel http://easyaccesstravel.com/ Believe they plan group cruises for peoplewith Spinal Cord Injuries .
  • Disclaimer : Have not used nor am affiliated with either of thesecompanies.

The following websitesoffers a lot of good information regarding living and traveling with a SpinalCord Injury.
http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/NM_Jun_16.pdf If nothing else you might want to register to receiveits magazine as it provides a wealth of information.


This websiteprovides a lot of links to resources in general that you may find helpful overtime: https://www.medstargoodsam.org/our-services/rehabilitation/treatments/spinal-cord-rehabilitation/resources-for-spinal-cord-injury-patients/#q={}

For consideration when booking :
  • IMHO cruising isa very good option for anyone living with a disability. Yes there will be timesobstacles may have to be worked out as with any travel but for the most partit’s very doable. Overall I think itwill be a very enjoyable time. My 13year old nephew who has been disabled from birth went on his first cruise this past February and he didn’t wantit to end.
  • In theory thenewer the build of the ship the more accessible it will be.
  • With theexception of NCL’s Pride of America which is registered to the USA, sails underthe USA Flag and is permanently based in the USA (Hawaii) all cruise ships areforeign flagged ships in which ADA applies only on limited basis in referenceto ships embarking from a USA. With thatstates ADA only applies to the public areas of the ship. However to the extent that ADA applies to thepublic areas of the ship for new builds has yet to be determine by USACongress.
  • A “FullyAccessible Cabin is a must but there is more to take into consideration whenbooking an accessible cabin.
    • Carnival hasmulti classifications of Accessible Cabins and Holland American has FullyAccessible as well a Modified Accessible cabin. All other cruise lines haveonly “Fully Accessible Cabins.
    • Automatic cabindoor openers are far and few between. Therefore if that’s needed you will haveto check directly with the cruise line. For example RCCL has automatic cabin door openers only on its Radiance Class Shipsand Vision Class Ships.
    • Whether thetoilet grab bar are on the right or left side of the toilet when seated isimportant to know as your daughter my favor a specific side from which totransfer. RCCL posts this information on link when viewing the deck. For all other cruise lines you’ll need tocontact their Special Needs Department.
    • You might want toconsider bringing or renting a shower wheelchair. Reason being the fold downshower seats are not always the best tosafely transfer to.
    • Very fewaccessible cabins will accommodate more than 2 passengers. Rollaway beds are generally not allowed inAccessible Cabins as the floor space is required for the wheelchair.
  • If your daughterlikes to be in the water than makecertain the ship selected at least one poolwith a chair lift. For example:
    • Disney’s poolshave lifts.
    • RCCL ships haveone pool and one hot tub with a chair lift fleet wide.
  • Try to select anyitinerary that has no tender ports. Wheelchairs and scooters are no allowed on tenders if there is no roll-oncapability. Even if the tender does haveroll-on capabilities it’s at the Captain discretion if passengers with any typeof mobility equipment are allowed to board
  • It was suggestedby another poster to check into the possibility of your daughter using amobility scooter. Scooters are generallynotrecommended nor a safe option for paraplegics. Therefore you shouldonly listen to her doctor, OccupationalTherapist and Physical Therapist to determine what is the best and safest mobility devicefor your daughter. On the unlikely chance that a mobility scooter would beapproved it’s not the most convenient option to use table side.. A manual chair or power chair will allowbetter flexibility to pull right up the table to dine or do any other activity.
P.S a big thank you goes out to your husband for his service !!!




Thank so much you gave me a lot of great info.
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First Cruise Conquest 7/9/2006
Dream 7/24/2010
Fascination 8/6/2011
Glory 12/2012
RCCL first and last 6/2013
#11
Wyoming
1,060 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Jeepers, xxoo, try reading what I actually said for a change. I specifically said to discuss the scooter idea with her doctor. No one here, including both of us, is qualified to tell the OP whether a scooter will work for her daughter.

And I see you are providing incorrect information again. If "RCCL ships haveone pool and one hot tub with a chair lift fleet wide" that would be a new development since 2013, at which point Oasis, one of the newer (then) ships, had one lift that served both pool and hot tub, and some of the ships had none. OP, if this matters to you, be sure to check with the cruise line and see which ships actually do have a lift.

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Most of the members here are great! But when you get tired of incorrect information from unhelpful posters, the Ignore List is your friend!
Norwegian Pearl May 21, 2017 - Alaska
First cruise EVER on RCL Oasis of the Seas July 27, 2013 - Eastern Caribbean
#12
6,635 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by mamasylvia
Jeepers, xxoo, try reading what I actually said for a change. I specifically said to discuss the scooter idea with her doctor. No one here, including both of us, is qualified to tell the OP whether a scooter will work for her daughter.

And I see you are providing incorrect information again. If "RCCL ships haveone pool and one hot tub with a chair lift fleet wide" that would be a new development since 2013, at which point Oasis, one of the newer (then) ships, had one lift that served both pool and hot tub, and some of the ships had none. OP, if this matters to you, be sure to check with the cruise line and see which ships actually do have a lift.

To : OP - Armywifefisher

Know that I have been a well respected contributor on this forum for many years and there are many posts from other CC members through the threads that can support my statement.

The information I previously stated in post# 2 regarding RCCL having one pool with a lift and one hot tub with a lift fleet wide is most definitely correct information contrary Mamasylvia's accusation. Additionally the implementation of this policy did occurred prior to 2013 .

There are occasional reports on CC of an RCCL ship not having any lift. The fact that RCCL typically removes the seats from the chair lifts when not in use due to kids playing with the lift and sometimes causing damage has prompted such reports. As a result of the seats having been removed the lifts are not always recognizable and some passengers just assume there isn't one rather than asking RCCL pool staff for assistance. Regardless I can assure you and anyone else reading this post that the policy is fleet wide as previously stated in Post # 2.

Apparently Mamasylvia chose not to check out RCCL's website before accusing me of posting incorrect information. Had that been done she would have found my statement to be accurate and supported by the links below.
#13
06511
240 Posts
Joined May 2016
Originally posted by armywifefisher
Hi my name is Patty, Unfortunately my daughter who is 12 had a spinal stroke on June 2, that has left her a paraplegic. We have a cruise that was booked before all this happened for NCL getaway western, but not sure if this is our best choice. By the time the cruise comes around, next August, she should be profeciant in transfers and self care. I am just afraid there will be either not the best ship or cruise line to pick or best ports to pick. Any info will be helpful.
Hi Patty I am so sorry to hear of your daughters disability. My daughter and I are really new at cruising but I am happy we discovered it. Kelly had a stroke at the age of 2 1/2 yrs., she is now 32 and able to take only a few steps with assistance.
The joy of cruising for us is that she just loves to look outside and a cruise ship provides lots of opportunities for that! We just have to make sure we pack enough diapers, and mattress protectors (the cruise ship doesn't provide them) and we are good to go. Nadine
#14
Missouri
99 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I first want to say that my heart goes out to your daughter and your family. My husband is a para after an accident several years ago. We went on a 12 day cruise aboard the Getaway. As was mentioned in almost every post, definitely try to book an accessible cabin. We had an oceanview and it was very roomy (it had a nice ledge under the window I could sit on and read). They make sure a wheelchair can make it to either side of the bed. The bathroom shower has no lip to maneuver over. The space under the sink is empty so she could roll underneath. They have closet bars that come down so that she can reach hanging clothes. Also, if she has medication that needs to be in the fridge, they can unstock the minibar for you. there is also special needs paperwork that needs to be filled out if you get an accessible room. The hallways were tricky with me usually having to push housekeeping carts out of the way so we could get around them. The rest of the ship was very accessible. To get to the rope swing, you had to ride a lift up. She would be unable to do the slides or ropes course, but we did play mini golf on that level. The theatre had an area at the top for scooters, wheelchairs and the people w/them.. i would suggest getting there early though. Not sure which ports are part of your western cruise. The only place we had to use a tender was in Grand Cayman. The employees were nice enough to lift my husband and his chair on and off the boat. There is a lack of truly accessible excursions offered through the cruise lines (you usually have to take 2-3 steps). We usually hang around the port and shop or take a taxi and ask them to show us around. we usually use the transfers from the ship to airport. they will arrange an accessible shuttle, but you may have to remind them the last night onboard. if i could provide you any further info, please let me know. we will be going on our 5th cruise this year and we find it to be the most stress-free way to travel.

Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk
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#15
Dorset, england
611 Posts
Joined May 2011
Hi Patty,

What a terrible time your family has had of late, I am sorry that you are all going through this.

My situation is very different from your daughter's, so I cannot give a lot of information. However, I would like to emphasise the need for electronic cabin doors. I am not completely wheelchair dependent but cannot get myself and my walking aid/wheelchair through the cabin door on my own if they have to be opened manually. We have just booked a cruise for next September and our TA took a lot of time contacting various cruiselines to find out about electronic doors.

On the whole, I would say that cruising is a great option for people with disabilities, as long as you take the time to get things right before booking.

I hope that your daughter does well and gains as much independence as possible - and that you all have a great cruise when the time comes.
#16
San Diego
4,569 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
If your daughter has paraplegia, she will undoubtably need an accessible cabin. She would not be able to get into the bathroom in a regular cabin (6 inch step up) and there is not enough room in the cabin to negotiate around the beds with a wheelchair.

Instead of a scooter, I would recommend that you discuss power-assist wheels or a power-assist device to make it easier for her to get around both the ship and the ports. These are not cheap, but can be taken on/off the chair as needed, and maintain the flexibility of a manual wheelchair that you can fold and put in a taxi when touring ashore. They work best for rigid framed chairs (which have quick release wheels and a folding back).

Here are some to look at and discuss with her therapists:

https://riomobility.com/firefly/

https://www.spinergy.com/products/zx-1-power-add

http://www.sunrisemedical.com/manual...assist/xtender


http://www.max-mobility.com/

http://www.alber-usa.com/produkte-ro...llstuehle.html

Also, although not a power assist device, this device can be added to the chair for going on uneven or unpaved terrain a lot more safely:

https://www.gofreewheel.com/
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#17
New Jersey
735 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I have been a paraplegic for 26 years and have been on 6 cruises the last one on the Getaway going to Roatan, Cost Maya,Harvest Caye and Cozumel. The ship is very accessible, I did a tour in Roatan thru Daniel Johnson , they took the chair apart and were very helpful. The other island had shops near the port. I use a manual rigid chair and I push where ever I go.
if you have any questions

Ask away
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Don't sweat the small stuff.... Glenn



Song of Norway - Southern Carribean - Feb 17 1991
NCL Dawn - Eastern Carribean -March 16 2006
NCL GEM Feb 2008
Explorer of the Seas April 2010
NCL GEM Feb 2013
NCL GEM Feb 2015
NCL Getaway Feb 2017

NCL Escape Jan 2018
#18
174 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
Originally posted by Splinter
If your daughter has paraplegia, she will undoubtably need an accessible cabin. She would not be able to get into the bathroom in a regular cabin (6 inch step up) and there is not enough room in the cabin to negotiate around the beds with a wheelchair.

Instead of a scooter, I would recommend that you discuss power-assist wheels or a power-assist device to make it easier for her to get around both the ship and the ports. These are not cheap, but can be taken on/off the chair as needed, and maintain the flexibility of a manual wheelchair that you can fold and put in a taxi when touring ashore. They work best for rigid framed chairs (which have quick release wheels and a folding back).

Here are some to look at and discuss with her therapists:

https://riomobility.com/firefly/

https://www.spinergy.com/products/zx-1-power-add

http://www.sunrisemedical.com/manual...assist/xtender


http://www.max-mobility.com/

http://www.alber-usa.com/produkte-ro...llstuehle.html

Also, although not a power assist device, this device can be added to the chair for going on uneven or unpaved terrain a lot more safely:

https://www.gofreewheel.com/
Most do work on a folding manual chair too - bit of fiddling because you've got extra adaptor bars and such -but I use a freewheel on my chair - and currently waiting on OT to submit reports so I can get funding released for a SmartDrive. Expensive as you say, but so much easier.


Only place I've got stuck with the Freewheel was a beach in Fiji (which it's not designed for anyway); it's been off-road in all sorts of conditions and done well.
#19
Florida
333 Posts
Joined Nov 2014
armywifefisher,

First of all I think your 12 yo daughter will figure out what to do in short time. Younger folks seem to adapt quite well, and quickly to their situation. That being said I would agree with most here that you should try to change to a HC cabin. Simply because it makes your and her life a little easier. Also you might look into renting a power chair or scooter (Whichever might be deemed as suitable by you and your doctor). Most of the Caribbean is sort of accessible. The major issues are the beaches. I have only seen beach wheelchairs in Labadee, which is a RCCI, Celebrity, Azamara private beach area.

I think you could look at cruises that have availability of HC staterooms. I have only sailed NCL one time on the Epic. It is an unusual ship and sort of HC friendly. Usually Cruise lines will allow you to change your reservations to a different cruise on the same line without penalty. Call them, and I am sure they will help you work out the best solution for you and your family.

Good luck and please let us know what you have decided.
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#20
9 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
What islands will you be going to?
We have 2 children born with a physical disability, both use manual wheelchairs and we have taken them on many cruises. They are now 14 and 11. We will be going on another cruise in 3 weeks! We always get an accessible room (you NEED that wider doorway and the extra space in the bathroom!).
We've never had any problems with getting onto the islands. Grand Cayman was the only tender port-and fortunately we were able to go there as well. (The cruise lines say that it depends on the weather/waves/etc if you will be able to move over the "gangplank" thing onto the tender boat.)
Most of the locals on all the islands we've been to have been very helpful-some even help us haul everything over the sand to a spot to park it for the day. However, Grand Cayman seemed to be all about the money when it came to transportation. We lucked out on getting onto what seemed to be the one and only bus with a lift to go out to the beach right away when we got to the port. When we got to the beach, the driver asked us what time we would want to go back to the boat-so we told him, and then promptly showed up at the meeting spot at that time. However, we had to wait until that van/driver was up next in line. We ended up waiting for 1 hour while the vans that were ahead of him in line had to fill up with passengers before we could get onto his van. Otherwise the other drivers would get mad because he could potentially get an extra trip in and make more money than them. Had we known-we would have adjusted our time and either left the beach earlier, or stayed out playing in the water longer. Even tho we were very frustrated with it...we had to laugh. When we thought the bus was full, they packed another 20 passengers on!!! It was like they were pulling seats out of a magic rabbit hat!
If you go to Jamaica....we did the Bobsled excursion thru the boat. It was a blast!! After wards, there is an infinity pool at the top of the hill with a waterslide. The lifeguard on duty was awesome...very friendly and asked if he could carry our boys up the stairs multiple times so they could go down the waterslide. Supposedly you can't take any photos in the pool area because they take them and then charge you an arm and a leg. But he told us that for $20, he'd take videos and pictures of our kids going down the waterslide...so it was worth it since we didn't have to break our backs. :-)
Otherwise, the main issue we run into is the sand...not very accessible with regular manual wheelchairs. But we love going to the beach, and hanging out there for the day, so we do it anyway. Once we get to the sand, we carry the boys to a spot, then carry the wheelchairs to the spot (turn the seat cushions upside down or cover with a towel so they don't get hot/wet/sandy). We try to get close to the waters edge so the boys can just scoot back and forth. We bring life jackets, footballs, googles and float the day away.
The boys did a "swim with the dolphins" excursion and we had a blast...even got to spend about twice the time in the water with the dolphins as my husband/daughter got! They obviously couldn't do the one where you stand on the dolphins nose-but they got to be pushed by a dolphin on a boogie board, pulled by the fins and all the clapping/kissing/tricks. It was one of those "once in a lifetime" bucket list items and we loved it. Also-barter for the photo cd-do not pay full price. ;-)
We've only been on Carnival boats, but never have any problems. Staff are all very friendly and practically trip over themselves offering to help.
The boys do the kids camps with their peers. If there's any bathroom issues, we are paged/called-but that hasn't happened yet. The last cruise we were on, there was an option to pay $5 per phone/ipod device and then we could text each other and that was awesome. With our older son-he could have a little more freedom to roam the boat with friends and we could always be in contact with him.
I'm sorry to hear about all that your family has been thru. When you go on this vacation, I hope you get to relax and recoup! Let me know if you have any questions about any islands you are going to. I'm currently researching the 4 new islands we will be at in 3 weeks.
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