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Wolfpup

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We recently returned from a S. Caribbean cruise on the Constallation, and I wanted to share Mom's wonderful experience with others on this board. We have cruised many times, and this trip, by far was the best.
Mom is 83, has complex medical issues, limited vision, and uses a wheelchair, though she can walk a short distance with assistance. Staff and crew were very helpful getting off and on the ship. From the moment we entered the embarkation area, a staff member pushed the wheelchair, staying with Mom the entire time.
Our room was an accessible, outside, with balcony, rolling shower and plenty of room for the wheel chair. The room was made up with a third bed for Mom with an extra mattress for height. Our stewardess and her assistant couldn't do enough to help Mom with her slightest needs.
Every staff member anticipated Mom's needs, we never had to ask anything of anyone on the ship.
In one of the lounges that we frequented, the bar tender, Sudi, would see Mom coming, and immediately ran to escort and help her sit atop one of the bar stools. Since Mom cannot drink alcoholic beverages due to her many medications, Sudi made Eviantinins and juiceitinis for Mom.
We had buffet for breakfast and lunch. Stewards immediatley assisted by pushing the wheel chair, or carrying Mom's tray. They helped her select what she wanted, escorted her to a seat and then got her a beverage. In the main dining room, out table strewardess pre-cut Mom's entree into bite sized pieces every night.
Mom had no problems getting around on the ship. We tendered in one port, and crew helped lift Mom onto and off the tender, and secured the wheel chair.
We selected shore excursions that provided Mom with an opportunity to experience each of the islands. Some of the vans were a bit tight, but we managed. Mom loved Harrison's Caves in Barbados. Electric cars take you underground to view the caves.
Pre and post cruise hotels left much to be desired, and Continental Airlines ability to get the wheel chair to the gate was pathetic. We missed our connecting flight from Newark to Boston, and their Customer Service personnels' attitude was "too bad" you weren't at the gate for your conecting flight in time, so we sold your confirmed seats. The airline blamed us for their ineptitude! We rented a car and drove to Boston because they were not able to get us another flight. I called Celebrity, and they immediately took care of the added costs. It was a stresful way to end an otherwise wonderful cruise.
We are planning a cruise and land tour on the Infinity to Alaska mid summer.

Darcy
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Hi Darcy,

Thanks for the info. My husband and I are doing a 14 nt southern caribbean on the Zenith this November. My husband is a para and uses a light weight manual chair. He is able to transfer into a car/van/taxi but not a bus. I would be interested in what shore excursions you took and your thoughts about them. We're c urrently researching and planning for our upcoming cruise. We've already booked an island tour with a private tour operator in Granada but are still researching the other ports. I would appreciate any info you can share. Thank you.

Carol
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We booked all of our tours through Celebrity. In Dominican Republic we went to a resort for the afternoon. The ship's crew pushed Mom in her wheel chair, up the incline to get to the bus/van area. There were a number of pools at the resort, plenty of shaded areas, all you can drink beverages, and the complex was adjacent to the beach. Ample ramps for the wheel chair. The pools had steps and hand rails, so Mom was able to get into the pool. I would not venture over to the fake art village as it's all cobble stones. In Barbados we did Harrison's caves and staff there assisted Mom in and out of the electric cars, after the caves, the trip went to Andromeda gardens. It wasn't very accessible, but we did manage to show Mom some of the flora and fauna in spite of wet, slippery pavement and steps. In Granada we went on an island tour to a spice plantation and nutmeg processing center. The plantation was clearly impossible to navigate, so Mom opted to stay on the van. She did go into the nutmeg house and bought spices. At the end of the tour, we stopped at a beach resort for a drink, no problem getting the wheel chair to the bar area. In Antigua, we went to Nelson's Dockyard. The van was tight, but the Dockyard, in spite of being a few centuries pre-ADA, was a delightful experience. This tour also included stops at scenic vistas that were a bit of a challenge, so my husband and I helped support Mom so she could get a look at English Harbour, and Shirley Heights. Our van driver, assisted with taking the wheel chair off and on at each stop. At the end of the tour, we did a little shopping, many of the shops have at least on step to enter them. In St. Thomas, we decided to take in the only excursion Mom had never experienced in all of her prior trips to the island. We took the tram to the top on the island. It involved climbing one flight of steps to access the tram, though I was told there are cabs/vans that can take you to the top. We made it in time for a tropical bird show. The parrots were very interested in perching on the wheel chair and using Mom's cane, a few shops and snack bar were atop the mountain. We did a little shopping and returned to the ship.
When were left the ship, a crew member took charge of Mom all the way off the ship, throug customs, luggage claim, to finding our van for our post cruise stay in San Juan.
On previous trips, we have booked a combination of cruise excursions and private trips. This involves some research, but well worth the effort. When we go to Alaska in a few months, I plan to do a day trip to Victoria Island as we did a few years ago. I don't want the "big tour bus" trip, rather a small van with more personalized service.

Darcy
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Darcy,
I'm interested in which trip on the Infinity you'll be taking. We were on the Constellation this past February and will be on the Infinity to Alaska this summer.
Was your table waiter's name Rica or Kathrine? They did the same for my husband (cutting his food). Yes, I agree, the Constellation staff go out of the way to make you feel like royalty.

Judy
Constellation, Southern Caribbean - [img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00ffff&cdt=2005;2;19;23;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]
Infinity, Alaska - [img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00ffff&cdt=2004;7;25;17;00;00&timezone=PMT-0500[/img]
Constellation, Southern Caribbean - 2/21/04 - Another incredibly wonderful cruise
2/22/03 - Constellation (Just a wonderful, wonderful cruise)
2/22/99 - Mercury
Monarch of the Sea
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Judy

We are going on the August 1st sailing of the Infinity, but plan to fly out a few days earlier to see some of our favorite sights and go to Victoria. We're also doing the train/bus across the Canadian Rockies.
On our last trip to Alaska, Mom managed to get onto a helicopter and "walk" on a glacier. This year she wants to do a float plane into the fjords.
When we were on the Zenith last August, our steward cut Mom's entree as he noticed her struggle with the knife. No, neither Rica nor Katherine were our servers on the Constellation.
It's amazing how well trained Celebrity's staff is in caring for passengers with special needs.

Darcy
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Darcy,

Thanks for the indepth info on your shore excursions. Since my husband is unable to walk or stand we do alot of research and book our shore excursions direct with tour operators. We have had many great experiences and wonderful memories and find that the time spent researching was well worth it.

Carol
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  • 3 months later...
[quote name='Wolfpup']We recently returned from a S. Caribbean cruise on the Constallation, and I wanted to share Mom's wonderful experience with others on this board. We have cruised many times, and this trip, by far was the best.
Mom is 83, has complex medical issues, limited vision, and uses a wheelchair, though she can walk a short distance with assistance. Staff and crew were very helpful getting off and on the ship. From the moment we entered the embarkation area, a staff member pushed the wheelchair, staying with Mom the entire time.
Our room was an accessible, outside, with balcony, rolling shower and plenty of room for the wheel chair. The room was made up with a third bed for Mom with an extra mattress for height. Our stewardess and her assistant couldn't do enough to help Mom with her slightest needs.
Every staff member anticipated Mom's needs, we never had to ask anything of anyone on the ship.
In one of the lounges that we frequented, the bar tender, Sudi, would see Mom coming, and immediately ran to escort and help her sit atop one of the bar stools. Since Mom cannot drink alcoholic beverages due to her many medications, Sudi made Eviantinins and juiceitinis for Mom.
We had buffet for breakfast and lunch. Stewards immediatley assisted by pushing the wheel chair, or carrying Mom's tray. They helped her select what she wanted, escorted her to a seat and then got her a beverage. In the main dining room, out table strewardess pre-cut Mom's entree into bite sized pieces every night.
Mom had no problems getting around on the ship. We tendered in one port, and crew helped lift Mom onto and off the tender, and secured the wheel chair.
We selected shore excursions that provided Mom with an opportunity to experience each of the islands. Some of the vans were a bit tight, but we managed. Mom loved Harrison's Caves in Barbados. Electric cars take you underground to view the caves.
Pre and post cruise hotels left much to be desired, and Continental Airlines ability to get the wheel chair to the gate was pathetic. We missed our connecting flight from Newark to Boston, and their Customer Service personnels' attitude was "too bad" you weren't at the gate for your conecting flight in time, so we sold your confirmed seats. The airline blamed us for their ineptitude! We rented a car and drove to Boston because they were not able to get us another flight. I called Celebrity, and they immediately took care of the added costs. It was a stresful way to end an otherwise wonderful cruise.
We are planning a cruise and land tour on the Infinity to Alaska mid summer.

Darcy[/QUOTE]
Hi
Planning to cruise the baltic on the constellation from dover. I use a elec w/chair, please advise me of the embarking method?
Are there many steps and from what deck do you disembark?
I've travelled on the Grand Princess which had a minimal number of steps that could also be converted in a ramp, fantastic.
Thanks.
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  • 1 month later...
We just returned from the Baltic on the Constellation with a manual wheelchair. In all the ports, we left via deck one which was a pretty flat ramp off. We had no problems traveling in most port with the exception of Russia and Estonia. Most of the palaces and churches have steps to get in and no elevators to get to the other floors. In our case, members of our party carried the chair up all steps.
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