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Best HC ship for Alaska Cruise


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I am trying to help arrange a cruise that will include my quadraplegic brother in law. Can someone offer their opinion of the best line to cruise on that goes out of Seattle or Vancouver? He thinks he wants a mini suite or at the very least a veranda suite. His concern is being able to move around inside the room. Can anyone offer some advice.... The planned cruise is Summer 2006


Thanks for any and all help with this.



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Joyce, it's going to be difficult to find a suite that's handicap accessible. For some reason, cruise lines must think that we disabled people wouldn't want to be in a big suite. Your BIL will definitely need an accessible cabin with a bathroom that set up for those of us who need accommodations. One plus, handicapped cabins are generally larger than regular cabins in the same category.


I would say that the only port he could have trouble in is Ketchikan because for some reason, the dock there is terribly low and the ramp up to the ship is the steepest I've ever seen on any ship in any port.

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I agree with Kitty9 that few ships have accessible suites. However, the accessible cabins on most newer ships are very spacious. In terms of space, I would recommend Cabin 6005 on the Celebrity Infinity. Not only was it almost the size of 2 regular cabins, but our steward said that it was larger than some of the suites. The only downside is that being at the front of the ship, we had to keep the curtains closed at night. The Infinity is generally very accessible; however, there were metal thresholds in the corridor from our cabins to the elevator that resulted in a bumpy ride for my husband.


I believe that the Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas have 2 accessible suites each. We were in oceanvew cabins on each. Our cabin size was only adequate in terms of moving the wheelchair around; however, both cabins had automatic doors and especially large, well equipped bathrooms. The ships themselves were very accessible; however, the corridor outside our cabin was too narrow to get a wheelchair past when the housekeeping carts were out.


We also have been on both the Carnival Spirit and Norwegian Spirit. The cabin size on the Carnival Spirit was again just adequate, but it also had a large well equipped bathroom. The Norwegian Spirit only has inside, accessible cabins. The cabin was a little larger, but the bathroom was just adequate. In addition there were a few parts of the NCL Spirit that were not accessible (eg, half the casino) or not well ramped.


We did not have a problem in Ketchikan, perhaps because my husband uses his manual chair when going ashore; however, he did not go ashore in Sitka because it is a tender port.

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We had a HC cabin on the Star Princess for an Alaskan Cruise. It was # C301 on the Caribe Deck. It was a balcony cabin, Cat BA, and was lovely. It was quite large, and the balcony was bigger than the mini we'd had on that ship the year before. We had the beds in a twin configuration when I went with my Mom, and a queen, with my husband. All of the Grand Class ships should be similar. We are now booked on the Island in a Cat BA Balcony Cabin......H/C, and from the pictures, it looks just like the one on the Star. The Island and the Coral should be the same. I haven't seen a handicapped cabin on any of the other Princess ships.......we couldn't get on on the Sun, and didn't need one on the Regal, at the time. I don't know why Princess does not have accessible mini's or suites, but the BA Balcony cabins are nice. Here's a website with a picture of the Island Princess BA Cabin:




The bathroom is large with a wide door, a roll in shower, built in shower seat, no lip to get over. There are grab bars, and a loose shower curtain around the shower, with a drain 3/4 of the way around, in the floor. There is very little storage in the bathroom, however. We just left our bath bags in the closet right outside the door, and carried them in and out.

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Joyce, as an aside, I've cruised on just about every cruise line there is, and by far, the best accessible cabins I've ever been in were on Radisson. They were huge, with lots of room to negotiate a chair, the bathroom was the best in terms of accessibility with a very large roll in shower with a seat and grab bars and a moveable shower head, a HC commode/grab bars, and a sink with enough room to roll a chair right up to.

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DH is in a power wheelchair and has had no trouble on HAL's Vista class ships.

We sail out of FLL, but I believe the Oosterdam is now on the West Coast and does [or will] go to Alaska.


We have had verandah cabins on our sailings, but will be setting an SS suite [not a "real" suite, but bigger] on our next 2 cruises.

HAL does offer HC suites, however.

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I can endorse any of the accessible cabins on the newer ships for Princess, Royal Caribbean, HAL or Celebrity. All are good sized, although the HAL bathrooms are a little small for our needs. My mother has MS and must use a power chair at all times. She has no problems negotiating any of these cabins or ships. Be sure to plan ahead for accessible tours in Alaska. They do exist in most ports. Princess is probably the least helpful cruise line in getting information due to not have a separate Special Services department, so you may want to wait on them until he has more experience as a cruiser.


I hope you are booking NOW....we often find we must book at least 9-12 months ahead as these cabins disappear fast.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We had three rooms on NCL Star to Alaska out of Seattle last year with one of the rooms being handicapped accessible. It was extremely spacious with room for 4 to sleep. Bath was nice sized with wheel-in accessible shower. It was an inside cabin however and I don't know if they're available outside. We did tender off in two ports, one of which was unscheduled. The earlier post about Ketchikan being steep and difficult is true. I would encourage you to find out from someone on board whether it is wheelchair accessible before attempting. The Star is a spacious ship and I think getting around in a wheelchair would be fine except for the hallways outside of the cabins if there was a cleaning cart or something big like that in the way. But this is probably the case in most ships.

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We have, had and will have stateroom #8176 on the Infinity, Constellation and Summit (Celebrity). The room is at the back of the ship providing a wonderful view. My only objection was that there was no way to roll out onto the huge balcony on the Constellation. The Infinity provided a wooden ramp in, out and over the lips going onto the balcony. Of course, I didn't ask our room steward if the ship could provide a ramp on the Constellation, but I will next February when we are in the same room. I was able to store my husband's wheelchair on the verandah plus there were two lounge chairs, two regular deck chairs, a large table (we were in Concierge Class), and a small table. We were able to charge the battery on the scooter in the room at night-no problem.

My sister, mother and I were in this room on the Infinity in Alaska. We were on a round-trip from Vancouver. This year, my husband and I will be on a Southbound Alaska cruise from Seward.

Any questions, please ask. In any case, I hope that you enjoy your cruise.

Of course, I've only been on the M class Celebrity ships, but we like

The room is large and the bathroom is too. There are no drawers in the bathroom but I bought a canvas shoebag and hung it on the bathroom door so all of our toiletries were accesible to us.

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Thanks for the great info on room 8176. We just booked this room for a 14 night R/T

L.A. to Hawaii on the Summit. We need the HC room for our daughter. Her chair is just about an inch too wide to fit through a reg. cabin door.We looked at Princess but they do not have an accessible triple with a balcony..Connie

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