Which line is best for wheelchair users?

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#1
Millsboro, Delaware
1 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Before multiple sclerosis took my legs away, I sailed with Royal and Dolphin. I never considered the challenges that using a wheelchair brings. I would like to know which lines are the most W/C friendly (including ship-shore excursions). I wish to sail to Alaska and the carribean.

Tx in advance
#2
AR
2,718 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by dicktracy62
Before multiple sclerosis took my legs away, I sailed with Royal and Dolphin. I never considered the challenges that using a wheelchair brings. I would like to know which lines are the most W/C friendly (including ship-shore excursions). I wish to sail to Alaska and the carribean.

Tx in advance
Are you W/C bound or can you transfer to a car or van? Climb steps onto a bus?

Cruise line shore excursions are almost never W/C friendly.

The newer the ship, the more W/C friendly it will be.

RCI has a lift chair for at least one swimming pool per ship,
but the crew gets very little practice/training on it.
Be prepared to wait and enjoy the circus instead of getting upset.

Tendered ports are a real problem.
HAL may do best on tendered ports.

Is your W/C manual, collapsable, power, light, heavy?
How wide of a cabin door is needed?
You will probably need to book a Handicap cabin.
They generally go fast, so I book mine 1 to 1.5 years in advance.
I can always cancel.

I know there are empty handicap cabins for the December 10 sailing of the Noordam (HAL).
Come join me. You might be able to pick up a cheap rate at this late date.
.


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#3
6,646 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by jackretired

I know there are empty handicap cabins for the December 10 sailing of the Noordam (HAL).
Come join me. You might be able to pick up a cheap rate at this late date.
There's no December 10, 2012 Noordam sailing. Perhaps you mean the 10 days December 7, 2012 Noordam sailing.
#4
AR
2,718 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by xxoocruiser
there's no december 10, 2012 noordam sailing. Perhaps you mean the 10 days december 7, 2012 noordam sailing.
yes
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#5
San Diego
4,569 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I would agree on HAL, but also like Princess, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. HAL is best for tendering but not on all their ships, and access to the tender lift varies. Shore excursions in Alaska will more likely be accessible than in the Caribbean. Stick to ships built in the last 10 years if possible for best accessible cabins and public spaces.

If you can transfer to a car, and use a manual wheelchair ashore, you can do your own shore trips with a cab or car hire or rental. When traveling with my mother (who also had MS) I was in charge of finding and arranging any of our shore trips; we sometimes used the cruise line, but more often than not arranged our own. I used the internet extensively, including this site to find resources.
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#6
California
1,251 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by dicktracy62
Before multiple sclerosis took my legs away, I sailed with Royal and Dolphin. I never considered the challenges that using a wheelchair brings. I would like to know which lines are the most W/C friendly (including ship-shore excursions). I wish to sail to Alaska and the carribean.

Tx in advance

First of all, it is a good idea to check with the cruise line to be sure about the extent to which they accommodate wheelchair travelers.

I travel solo and require the use of a mobility device and I book wheelchair-accessible cabins. Generally, all cruise lines provide these cabins with a wide doorway for a wheelchair, extra wheelchair turn around space in the cabin, modified bathroom with rollin showers, lowered sinks and other modifications. Some cruiselines will provide a ramp to get from the cabin to the balcony if you have a balcony cabin.

Just about every cruise line provides basic shipboard accessibility. I do prefer Princess for their onboard experience.

Having said all that, a couple other things to think about:
1. Holland America seems to do a better job for wheelchair-bound travelers. They have a history of going beyond the minimum requirements for wheelchair-accessible passengers.

2. I was looking at Alaska cruises recently and found that Holland America provided a wheelchair-accessible shore excursion at every port, some ports had more than one. Some cruise lines provide zero shore excursions at a particular port.
I hope this helps.


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#7
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,728 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
DW has MS and now cruises in a wheelchair. We have nothing but good things to say about Princess and Celebrity but were very disappointed in HAL's Oosterdam last Christmas, our accessible cabin was a disgrace.
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Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 3, 2018

South Pacific & Australia - HAL Noordam - September 30, 2018

Previous Cruises:
Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 4, 2017 .. Scandinavia & Russia - Regal Princess - May 26, 2016 .. Hawaiian Islands - Ruby Princess - January 9, 2016 .. British Isles - Royal Princess - Aug 25, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 24, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 17, 2015 .. Western Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 10, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 19, 2014 .. Western Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 12, 2014 .. Athens to Venice - Ruby Princess Sept. 15, 2013 .. Rome to Athens - Ruby Princess - Sept. 9, 2013 .. Southern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 16, 2013 .. Eastern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 6, 2013 .. Mediterranean & Adriatic - Grand Princess - Sept. 4, 2012 .. Southern Caribbean - Celebrity Constellation - Jan. 14, 2012 .. Mexican Riviera - HAL Oosterdam - Dec. 24, 2011 .. Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 18, 2011 . . Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - May 14, 2011 . .Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 11, 2011 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan. 16, 2011 .. Western Caribbean - Crown Princess -Jan. 8, 2011 .. Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess - Dec. 4, 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Sept. 4 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Aug. 28, 2010. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 9, 2010 .. Southern Caribbean - Grand Princess - Jan. 15, 2010 .. Alaska - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 19, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Coral Princess - May 15, 2009 .. Panama Canal - Coral Princess - Jan 6, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 3, 2008 .. Hawaii - Diamond Princess -Dec.18,2007 .. Alaska - Celebrity Mercury - Aug. 10, 2007 .. Alaska - Canadian National Steamship's - SS Prince George - 13 cruises - May thru Sept, 1963 (crew member)
#8
California
1,251 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by Putterdude
DW has MS and now cruises in a wheelchair. We have nothing but good things to say about Princess and Celebrity but were very disappointed in HAL's Oosterdam last Christmas, our accessible cabin was a disgrace.

I am curious to know what made your accessible cabin a disgrace.
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#9
756 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
We've taken six cruises with Holland America. My biggest complaint with them is the access to the balconies. There is a step ramp with heavy, manual doors that makes it very difficult to get in and out with assistance. The service on HAL is tough to beat, but I'm ready to try a different line on our next cruise.
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#10
Gaithersburg, Maryland
370 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
My husband has been a wheelchair user for over 40 years and we cruise primarily on Princess. Royal Caribbean also gets very good marks among our friends who are wheelchair users. If you use a mobility device, you want to reserve a wheelchair accessible cabin. When we do the cruises that sail from the east coast, we travel with two wheelchairs, a manual folding and a motorized. Last August we did the Inner Passage Round Trip from San Francisco on the Sea Princess so only took the manual. We had cabin B335 and it worked well. The Sea Princess isn't a newer ship and has less convenient access than the new ones like the Emerald and Ruby but the newer larger ships do not go to Alaska. Since Alaska is one of the U.S. states, it is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act to ports tend to be more accessible and have accessible transportation. We booked the one tendered port excursion through Princess and arranged private tours for the others. We had a great time and the Alaskan cruise is magnificent. But do take the advice of booking over a year ahead of time seriously. Hope it works out well.
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#11
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,728 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by CRUZER2012
I am curious to know what made your accessible cabin a disgrace.
I extremely small for an accessible cabin, it was impossible to get a wheelchair around the bed as evidenced by the wall scuffs, then even if the able-bodied companion carried the wheelchair around the bed the disabled person had trouble getting out on the balcony. The bathroom was very small and awkward for a person in a wheelchair. While not affecting accessibility the room was dirty, walls scuffed and chairs stained.
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Upcoming Cruises

Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 3, 2018

South Pacific & Australia - HAL Noordam - September 30, 2018

Previous Cruises:
Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 4, 2017 .. Scandinavia & Russia - Regal Princess - May 26, 2016 .. Hawaiian Islands - Ruby Princess - January 9, 2016 .. British Isles - Royal Princess - Aug 25, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 24, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 17, 2015 .. Western Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 10, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 19, 2014 .. Western Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 12, 2014 .. Athens to Venice - Ruby Princess Sept. 15, 2013 .. Rome to Athens - Ruby Princess - Sept. 9, 2013 .. Southern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 16, 2013 .. Eastern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 6, 2013 .. Mediterranean & Adriatic - Grand Princess - Sept. 4, 2012 .. Southern Caribbean - Celebrity Constellation - Jan. 14, 2012 .. Mexican Riviera - HAL Oosterdam - Dec. 24, 2011 .. Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 18, 2011 . . Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - May 14, 2011 . .Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 11, 2011 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan. 16, 2011 .. Western Caribbean - Crown Princess -Jan. 8, 2011 .. Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess - Dec. 4, 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Sept. 4 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Aug. 28, 2010. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 9, 2010 .. Southern Caribbean - Grand Princess - Jan. 15, 2010 .. Alaska - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 19, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Coral Princess - May 15, 2009 .. Panama Canal - Coral Princess - Jan 6, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 3, 2008 .. Hawaii - Diamond Princess -Dec.18,2007 .. Alaska - Celebrity Mercury - Aug. 10, 2007 .. Alaska - Canadian National Steamship's - SS Prince George - 13 cruises - May thru Sept, 1963 (crew member)
#12
6,646 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Putterdude
I extremely small for an accessible cabin, it was impossible to get a wheelchair around the bed as evidenced by the wall scuffs, then even if the able-bodied companion carried the wheelchair around the bed the disabled person had trouble getting out on the balcony. The bathroom was very small and awkward for a person in a wheelchair. While not affecting accessibility the room was dirty, walls scuffed and chairs stained.

Holland America as well as Carnival Cruise lines both have Fully Accessible Cabins and Modified Accessible Cabins. The sales reps generally don't tell you this when booking. Therefore a person oftens books a Modified Accessible Cabin thinking it's a fully accessible cabin. End result you need to be very specific when booking an Accessible Cabin with Holland America and Carnival Cruise lines.
#13
Dallas, TX
186 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by dicktracy62
Before multiple sclerosis took my legs away, I sailed with Royal and Dolphin. I never considered the challenges that using a wheelchair brings. I would like to know which lines are the most W/C friendly (including ship-shore excursions). I wish to sail to Alaska and the carribean.

Tx in advance
I use a manual wheelchair full time and cruised for the first time this August in Alaska on Princess. I was very pleased with the accessibility onbaord and in ports. As previous posters have indicated since Alaska is a state most everywhere is ADA compliant. In Juneau (Whale Watching and Wildlife tour) and Skagway (Gold panning, 30 below experience and dog sleds) we took Princess arranged tours and were provided accessible transportation. In Ketchikan we arranged for a private tour that was accessible. In all 3 cases I had a great time and never felt I had to miss something due to lack of accessibility. Also, my parents cruise frequently and have indicated as others have that the Carribean can be hit or miss as far as accessibility. If you stay around the US Territories you should be ok. Happy cruising!
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Future: Royal Princess - December 29, 2017 - 10 nt. Southern Caribbean Medley;

Sailed: Golden Princess - August 4, 2012 - 7 nt Alaska w/ Glacier Bay; Disney Magic - January 18, 2013 - 8 nt. Bahamas; Royal Princess - October 29, 2013 - 5 nt. Maiden Caribbean Voyage; Ruby Princess - April 12, 2014 - 5 nt. Western Caribbean; Disney Fantasy - November 29, 2014 - 7 nt. Eastern Caribbean; Emerald Princess - March 1, 2015 - 7 nt. Western Caribbean; Crown Princess - May 13, 2016 - 7 nt. Inside Passage w/ Glacier Bay; Crown Princess - May 20, 2016 - 1 nt. Pacific Coastal;
#14
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,728 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by xxoocruiser
Holland America as well as Carnival Cruise lines both have Fully Accessible Cabins and Modified Accessible Cabins. The sales reps generally don't tell you this when booking. Therefore a person oftens books a Modified Accessible Cabin thinking it's a fully accessible cabin. End result you need to be very specific when booking an Accessible Cabin with Holland America and Carnival Cruise lines.
Our cabin was and is still designated as a "VD" Accessible Verandah Stateroom and goes on to describe it as a Deluxe Verandah Oceanview....nowhere is there an indication that it is a "Modified Accessible Cabin". We have sailed in many accessible cabins on both Princess and Celebrity and in my mind this is a gross misrepresentation on the part of HAL. So my advice is that people need to beware when booking with HAL.
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Upcoming Cruises

Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 3, 2018

South Pacific & Australia - HAL Noordam - September 30, 2018

Previous Cruises:
Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 4, 2017 .. Scandinavia & Russia - Regal Princess - May 26, 2016 .. Hawaiian Islands - Ruby Princess - January 9, 2016 .. British Isles - Royal Princess - Aug 25, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 24, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 17, 2015 .. Western Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 10, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 19, 2014 .. Western Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 12, 2014 .. Athens to Venice - Ruby Princess Sept. 15, 2013 .. Rome to Athens - Ruby Princess - Sept. 9, 2013 .. Southern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 16, 2013 .. Eastern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 6, 2013 .. Mediterranean & Adriatic - Grand Princess - Sept. 4, 2012 .. Southern Caribbean - Celebrity Constellation - Jan. 14, 2012 .. Mexican Riviera - HAL Oosterdam - Dec. 24, 2011 .. Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 18, 2011 . . Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - May 14, 2011 . .Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 11, 2011 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan. 16, 2011 .. Western Caribbean - Crown Princess -Jan. 8, 2011 .. Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess - Dec. 4, 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Sept. 4 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Aug. 28, 2010. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 9, 2010 .. Southern Caribbean - Grand Princess - Jan. 15, 2010 .. Alaska - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 19, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Coral Princess - May 15, 2009 .. Panama Canal - Coral Princess - Jan 6, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 3, 2008 .. Hawaii - Diamond Princess -Dec.18,2007 .. Alaska - Celebrity Mercury - Aug. 10, 2007 .. Alaska - Canadian National Steamship's - SS Prince George - 13 cruises - May thru Sept, 1963 (crew member)
#15
AR
2,718 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by Putterdude
Our cabin was and is still designated as a "VD" Accessible Verandah Stateroom and goes on to describe it as a Deluxe Verandah Oceanview....nowhere is there an indication that it is a "Modified Accessible Cabin". We have sailed in many accessible cabins on both Princess and Celebrity and in my mind this is a gross misrepresentation on the part of HAL. So my advice is that people need to beware when booking with HAL.
Yes, you are correct. I learned, the hard way, that on HAL the cabin description must mention the extra wide door for a fully accessible cabin.


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#16
Manitoba, CANADA
29 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
My 42 year old wife also has MS, and uses a travel scooter when we cruise. She can fortunately still take a few steps, so this makes cabin choices easier as we're not limited to accessible cabins. However, that being said, we strongly urge you NOT to consider HAL, as even their newest ships are not very accessible (we recently were on the Eurodam). Only certain public restrooms are accessible, and there are many, many doors that must be opened to get from place A to place B, not all of which are automatic.

We are relatively loyal Celebrity cruisers, but until recently took their full accessibility for granted. After seeing the deplorable state of accessibility on other cruise lines, I can assure you we no longer take Celebrity's wonderful ship design and accessibility for granted. We particularly like, and would strongly recommend, you consider choosing Solstice class ships. I doubt you will be disappointed.
#17
Benbrook, Texas
236 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Well, not to be flippant, but that is kind of like asking what car is best. It just depends on what your own personal needs are.

Can you transfer un assisted?
Can you take a step or two?
What kind of chair do you use?
Are you able to use the toilet, or need a potty chair, what side do you need bars on bath?

etc, etc, etc.

Try sitting down and writing out what you can do, can not do, and detailed questions you need answers for. There is a wealth of information here, and the cruise lines gladly answer any and all questions.

Oscar and I prefer Royal Caribbean and Princess. Many prefer HAL and Celebrity.
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