Cruising with RCI in in March while terminally ill

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#1
901 Posts
Joined May 2010
Hi,

In May my parents booked their "trip of a lifetime". An RCI cruise with their 4 kids and spouses. So 10 of us in the group.

In December my Dad was diagnosed with advanced terminal liver cancer. Prognosis of 18-22 months. He does not qualify for medical insurance and plans to travel without it. He absolutely will not entertain the notion of not going on the cruise.

Should we notify RCI of his condition? If we do, is there a chance that they will deny boarding?

Right now his energy is very good as it appears that he is reacting well to Chemo. He is driving himself to errands and is doing odd jobs around the house.

However, in January he was tiring very easily, was using a shower stool, and we were considering bringing a wheelchair along. Although he has had a very good week, things sometimes change daily or even hourly.

At this point he does not want to bring a wheelchair or request a shower stool from Special Needs. RCI's website says Special Needs requests need to be made 30 days advance. Does anyone have any experience with this? Will be OK if we wait until a week before departure to make the request?

Thanks in advance,
InsideCruiser
#2
Charleston, SC (prev Guilford, CT)
527 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I would do both, if only to have them available "just in case"...like travel insurance, I'd rather have them and NOT need them than NOT have them and need them. Granted, it's an additional cost, but....

JMHO
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#3
fresno,california
424 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
My dad took a cruise in April 2008. He was a patient at MD Anderson for Prostate cancer. On Chemo and some experimental treatments. He had to have one more cruise. He Had a great time even though he had trouble walking and had to use a wheelchair to get off the ship. They returned on a Sunday, Monday he returned to Houston and was admitted. Sadly, We lost him the following monday. That time before the cruise, I had my old dad back. His energy was up, our conversations were about something other than cancer. I will always cherish that time. The employees on the cruise went above and beyond for him and made the week. They even wheeled him off the ship and all the way to the parking garage and helped him in the car and loaded their luggage in the trunk. He didnt buy the insurance either nor did they alert the cruise about his condition. I hope your dad has a great time with you and his family. I wouldnt trade this time I had for anything!!! I wish you the best of luck.
#4
5,785 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
It's too bad he didn't buy the insurance at time of booking because he'd at least have been covered.
I would order the shower stool and wheel chair to be in his cabin now. If he doesn't need it - great. And if he does then it's there. Any chance of switching him to a handicap room so the wheel chair can be wheeled around and the shower will be much bigger?
I hope you all have a wonderful cruise together and have an amazing memory of your Dad.
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#5
Upstate NY
12,316 Posts
Joined May 2000
you should still buy the insurance. At least if he needs to be treated it will be covered.
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#6
South Carolina
9,607 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Please be aware that there are limited medical faculties on board.

Best wishes for you and your family.

M
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#7
5,076 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I would talk to him about going ahead and requesting the shower stool, by explaining just what you said, that you need to request it 30 days in advance, so why not do so just-in-case.

As for a wheel chair, I wouldn't worry about that now, other than maybe scoping out where you could potentially rent one either locally or near the departure port, in case the need comes up between now and the time of your trip.

I hope you have a great time. I'm sure your father's condition will add some stress to it, but sounds like he really wants to do this, so I hope you are able to have a great time and savor it all the more, knowing this could be sort of a "last hurrah" for him, before his illness begins to take more of a toll. Good luck!
#8
4,736 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
If you have a balcony cabin, the plastic deck chair could be used as a shower stool. Good luck to you all. We used similar when my Dad needed it.
#9
233 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and make memories that will last you a lifetime.

My aunt and her family went on the Liberty of the Seas when she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died 2 days after the cruise and the staff could not have been more helpful or accomidating. she ordered an electric wheelchair to be in her cabin the day the cruise began (just google places that rent wheelchairs in you departure port). She was too weak to use it and RCCL gave her one for the family to push. She collapsed the last night of the cruise and the room steward helped my uncle to lift her off the floor.

I would let RCCL know in advance and if they have a handicap room left, I would book that because a stool or chair would not fit in the regular shower.

Good luck and God bless you.
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#10
AR
2,718 Posts
Joined May 2010
RC will NOT supply a wheel chair, other than for embarkation and for disembarkation.
You need to bring a folding wheel chair with you. While you can rent one, I suggest you buy one (not much difference in cost). If you are flying to the port, airlines do not count wheel chairs as luggage.

Also, if your father is in a wheel chair for embarkation, he and at least one other person will get priority boarding.
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#11
4,736 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by jackretired
RC will NOT supply a wheel chair, other than for embarkation and for disembarkation.
You need to bring a folding wheel chair with you. While you can rent one, I suggest you buy one (not much difference in cost). If you are flying to the port, airlines do not count wheel chairs as luggage.

Also, if your father is in a wheel chair for embarkation, he and at least one other person will get priority boarding.
You are right, thanks Jack, I forgot about the tiny showers, especially the openings on the new ones with the door.
#12
158 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
for my FIL for our upcoming Allure cruise. I called Crown and Anchor and the only company allowed access was CareVacations. We paid in advance and the scotter will be in his cabin when he arrives. He had a stroke 3 years ago and the ship will be to much for him on his own. So a motorized scotter will allow him to do so much on his own.
Best of luck with your father. May you make dreams to last a lifetime for all of you.
#13
Illinois
1,550 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
As others have said, I would make sure the wheelchair and shower stool are available just in case.There is another thread on here regarding wheelchairs, so maybe call RCI about the chair so that you have it both for embarkation, debarkation and the duration of the cruise. I see no need to alert the cruise line about his illness. His healthcare provider at home can give you some idea of what he might need as well , such as pain medication and how to manage any other symptoms. I'm sure this trip is giving him something to look forward to. God be with your family as you take this journey both literally and figuatively. Take lots of pictures, and enjoy every minute!
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#14
Flagler Beach, Florida
6,903 Posts
Joined May 2006
My father in law also was diagnosed with liver cancer and we cruised with him and my mother-in-law for their 60th wedding aniversary just a couple months before his death three years ago. Granted, it was only a four day cruise from Florida where we all live, but this was what HE wanted to do and so we happily made it happen for him!! We waited until almost the very last month before booking as we wanted to be sure he would be feeling up to it. He was so excited to be going on this cruise and had been bugging DH and I to book it for them for quite some time! We waited so long that there were not any accessible cabins left and he had a small folding wheelchair, but we managed by folding it at their door and he could use his cane once inside the cabin. We booked an inside cabin right across the hall from them so we could be at their assistance any time. He had such a fabulous time and kept thenking us over and over and over! Yes, they bought some insurance, but I rather doubt it would have covered him since the condition was definitely pre-existing. Luckily, there were no health issues for him on that trip. We did not notify the ship that he was terminally ill as, in his case, the doctor's had given no time line and he was doing well at that time (possibly because he was SO hyped about the cruise!) Best wishes for being able to fulfill this request for your parent. It was a decision that DH and I will NEVER regret!
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#15
South Central Florida
1,576 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Contact Cruise Care. They are a company that specializes in renting special eauipment to cruisers so they won't have to bring them with. You can request wheel chair assistance in boarding but they won't usually let you keep the chair once you are on boaard. I would rent what they call a transport chair. It is very light weight and compact so it won't take up as much room as a wheel chair. Have them deliver it to one of your rooms so he doesn't even need to know it's there. That way if your dad needs it, you'll have it and if he doesn't, he'll never know. As far as a shower stool, you'll need to contact the special needs department of RCI to request that. They don't have lightweight plastic chairs on the balcony (if you even have a balcony) and I'm afraid that the showere wouldn't accomodate a full chair anyway.

We travel with elderly - independant parents and we have found it's best to be prepared and not need those things than to need them and try to find them at sea. Check and double check his medication before you leave and bring a little extra incase of accidents such as dropping a pill down the sink. It can happen....

Best of luck to you and your family and I hope your father is able to enjoy his cruise with his loving family.
#16
901 Posts
Joined May 2010
Thanks for the wonderful replies and experiences of travelling with terminally ill relatives. Our whole family is really looking forward to spending this time with Dad. We have decided not to inform RCI about the terminal illness.

We were able to find health insurance for him, but it will not cover anything related to the cancer.

I called RCI and there are no handicapped rooms available. Does RCI charge for the shower stool? Can anyone confirm what one poster said about the stools not working with a standard inside shower.

Called Special Needs at Sea, they will deliver a scooter to the cabin for $248, which was about $100 less than CareVacations. I think we'll wait until about a week before the cruise to make that decision. If it's necessary we'll use an RCI wheelchair for embarkation and disembarkation.

Regards,
InsideCruiser
#17
901 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by bmarchal
Contact Cruise Care. They are a company that specializes in renting special eauipment to cruisers so they won't have to bring them with. You can request wheel chair assistance in boarding but they won't usually let you keep the chair once you are on boaard. I would rent what they call a transport chair. It is very light weight and compact so it won't take up as much room as a wheel chair. Have them deliver it to one of your rooms so he doesn't even need to know it's there. That way if your dad needs it, you'll have it and if he doesn't, he'll never know. As far as a shower stool, you'll need to contact the special needs department of RCI to request that. They don't have lightweight plastic chairs on the balcony (if you even have a balcony) and I'm afraid that the showere wouldn't accomodate a full chair anyway.

We travel with elderly - independant parents and we have found it's best to be prepared and not need those things than to need them and try to find them at sea. Check and double check his medication before you leave and bring a little extra incase of accidents such as dropping a pill down the sink. It can happen....

Best of luck to you and your family and I hope your father is able to enjoy his cruise with his loving family.
Nice idea about having the chair/scooter delivered to one of our rooms just in case. Thanks.
#18
pennsylvania, usa
1,728 Posts
Joined May 2003
Originally posted by jackretired
RC will NOT supply a wheel chair, other than for embarkation and for disembarkation.
You need to bring a folding wheel chair with you. While you can rent one, I suggest you buy one (not much difference in cost). If you are flying to the port, airlines do not count wheel chairs as luggage.

Also, if your father is in a wheel chair for embarkation, he and at least one other person will get priority boarding.
I tore my lt lateral knee meniscus on a cruise, I was given a wheelchair to use. They do have them on board, you just have to return them... They put a charge when you get it, they take if off when you leave the ship..
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#19
Houston, TX
3,245 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
If you have not made final payment and are not disabled from travel, CSA travel insurance will waive pre-existing conditions if you purchase the insuance before final payment.

Royal Caribbean does not charge shower stools, but you need to contact Royal Caribbean Special Needs and let them know he needs one and do so in advance in insure there is one available for his use and in his room. Howevever, I don't know what category your father is booked in, but if he is booked in an inside or an outside, I don't see how the shower stool will fit inside the shower, unless Royal Caribbean has a special type. (We always have to book a wheelchair accessible stateroom as our party needs a roll in shower.)

We have been on the Voyager class ships and one of our party uses a wheelchair. I assume that you have contacted Royal Caribbean Special Needs to confirm that a wheelchair accessible stateroom is not available. The wheelchair will not go through the doors of a regular inside/outside/balcony stateroom--he would have to get out of the wheelchair, walk into the room and then fold up the wheelchair to get it into the room. There would also be very little room inside for the wheelchair. You should considering upgrading your dad to a suite if possible--it would be larger and more room for the wheelchair and n electric scooter (a regular electric scooter won't fit in the doorways of the lower category rooms and you are not allowed to leave them in the hallway--however, you can check the disabled board as there is some postings mentioning a particular type of scooter that will fit through the doorways, but I don't remember what brand it is or whether it can be rented).

I hope that your father has a wonderful cruise. It is great that the family can all get together with him on the cruise!
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Kathy
#20
1,331 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I am not in that position,but the way I have lived my life I wonder why I am not. I can think of no finer way to to come to terms with myself and life than on a cruise.Do what ever it takes to make it happen