Jump to content

Electric Wheelchair or scooter


Recommended Posts

I have a cruise booked to Hawaii.  This will be my first cruise needing assistive devises.  I can walk a short distance on good days with a cane.  I can’t walk long distances.  My condition is progressive and will only be worse mobility wise by the time I cruise.  I have booked an accessible cabin as I not only need a wheelchair or walker, but also grab bars in bathroom.  I have a Rollator and a transfer folding wheelchair, but am planning to rent an electric chair or scooter for the cruise.  Which would you recommend and why?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Without knowing you and your needs, I would not recommend a particular type of mobility device but rather a visit to a physical therapist. I found their advice invaluable in choosing the right equipment for me. My doctor did a referral so I only paid a deductible for the visit but it was worth everything I paid and more. I wish you luck in finding the right equipment for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If there is a medical supply store near you, I would suggest calling to see if they have any in stock to try. Scooters and Electric wheelchairs handle very differently. An electric wheelchair is controlled by a joystick. The joystick is very sensitive and takes some practice. I'm very used to scooters, but not EWs, and almost ran a friend's chair into a pool accidentally because I underestimated the sensitivity of the joystick. Scooters are less sensitive and more forgiving, but they do require more use of your arms. EWs have a tighter turning radius, so they are nice in the more narrow areas. I prefer scooters for two reasons: first, there's a little more protection in front of you in crowds. Second, if you have any use of your legs, you have more positions to place your feet on a scooter; on an EW, you only have the small platform. My legs and feet swell terribly, so I appreciate having some flexibility.

 

I will say that having a scooter has made my cruises so much more enjoyable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your thoughts VirginialsForCruisers.  Just what I am looking for.  I never thought about leg position.  My knees and hips get very stiff if I don’t move them regularly.  I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and really stiffen up. I will try to find a medical supply store and try them out.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are most welcome. I have the same stiffness issue with my knees, hips, and ankles, so I know what you mean. On my first cruise, my legs swelled so badly that my skin hurt and I became stiffer than usual. I tried to elevate my legs when possible, but it wasn't enough. I'm considering buying an inflatable leg ramp to use in bed while on my next cruise.

 

If you rent from Scootaround, you can request a cane holder on the scooter, so you can have your cane with you when you want to transfer to a regular chair, like for meals or shows.

 

If you have any ports that are tender ports, you won't be able to take the scooter, though you probably will be able to take your transfer chair. I was by myself on both of my cruises where I required a scooter and my cabin was a long, long way from the tender platform. I can walk a short way with my cane, but that was way too far for me. I asked at customer service if there was any way I could leave the scooter somewhere closer to the tender platform. They told me to head down there and ask. Well, the great guys running the tender area let me park it in a wide area about 20 feet from the ramp to the tender boat. That made my life so much easier. I tell you this because you don't know if you don't ask.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Virginia.  Looks like we have similar issues, so this really helps.  I haven’t cruised since my RA got to this point.  I too can walk a short distance with a cane, so good to know about the cane holder in the scooter.

 

Luckily for me, I will be traveling with 3 other people, so someone can get me to the tender in the transfer chair.  

 

You have to plan so much more when disabled, and so much more expensive.  I am concerned about the airport also, since our airport is very large and very crowded.  Last time I took a trip, I tried to use assistance, but waited over 30 minutes and a pusher was still not available.  We had to make sue without one and trying to handle our luggage (luckily 4 wheeled so I could push it.  Next time we will take the transfer chair and check the bags. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/3/2019 at 2:49 PM, Tsdcruiser said:

You have to plan so much more when disabled, and so much more expensive.  I am concerned about the airport also, since our airport is very large and very crowded.  Last time I took a trip, I tried to use assistance, but waited over 30 minutes and a pusher was still not available.  We had to make sue without one and trying to handle our luggage (luckily 4 wheeled so I could push it.  Next time we will take the transfer chair and check the bags. 

Yes, disability makes things more expensive and ups the requirement for careful planning. A dear friend of mine has MS. She has no use of her legs and very limited use of her arms. She told me that the thing that upsets her the most is the loss of spontaneity. Just a trip to the store requires days of planning.

 

I don't know if you are going to fly out of Hartsfield. I flew through there twice recently, both times were smooth. The last time, the inbound flight was delayed, so instead of the 3 hour layover, it was under an hour. I was so worried, because the gates were in different concourses, and one was at the very end. The woman who was the wheelchair pusher was phenomenal. I said that I didn't know if we'd make it; she replied to watch and see. She got me there in 22 minutes...from gate D18 to B1!  I was so impressed. She was also funny and cheerful. I gave her a huge tip and wrote the airport about how great she was.

 

Which airline are you flying? I normally fly American or Delta. Both have been good about assistance. I arrange for a wheelchair through the airlines and then verify via phone or chat the day before. Normally, they have someone waiting for me. I usually get to the airport super early, just in case. I'd rather have time to sit quietly at the gate and enjoy a beverage than be worried about getting through the airport, including security delays.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be flying delta out of Hartsfield.  The first time I just put I needed a pusher on the app.  When I arrived, I was sent to special needs check-in.  It was a mess, no one met me and I stood in line for a while and finally a travel companion pushed me and our luggage.   

 

I think I didn’t do it right.  Who do you call to confirm?  Where did they meet you?   I always arrive a couple hours early.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I put it in the app as well. The day before I travel, I call them at 404-209-3434. Delta also has a number to call if you get to the airport and there are issues. That number is 800-984-8935, but it is only available from 7AM - 1AM Eastern. For the destination (or connecting, if applicable) airport, you should also check with a flight attendant, he or she can verify that there will be someone waiting for you on the jetway.

 

I normally fly first class, so I stop at Sky Priority check in and if someone isn't waiting, they usually have someone there in a few minutes. If you're not flying first class, the special needs check in is the right place. Alternatively, the employees who are around the self check in kiosks are often very helpful.

 

If you are way early and get through security with hours left before boarding, you may consider paying for a day pass to the lounge. Delta has nice lounges, especially in ATL. The lounges are usually staffed with the best agents, who can also verify that the assistance request is tied to your account and they can have someone there within a few minutes when you want to leave the lounge and head to the gate. It's also nice to be able to hang out in a quieter area, with more comfortable chairs, and food and beverages. Finally, the restrooms in the lounges are usually much cleaner and nicer than those in the main airport. If I have a lot of time to wait, the lounge is a nice way to de-stress before getting on the plane.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have osteo, rather than rheumatoid, but still find it difficult to drive a scooter because of the hand position needed. I have an electric wheelchair and find it much easier on my hands. 

 

Do try as many kinds as you can so that you have a better chance of finding something that is exactly right for your needs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Slugsta.  I do have bad hands due to the RA.  I can drive a car, but my hands and fingers start to ache after about 45 minutes.  

 

I would love to try many, but I don’t know of anywhere locally to try them.  

 

Do you take your electric wheelchair with you or rent one at the ship?  I see NCL only accepts scooters or electric wheelchairs with gel cell batteries.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Tsdcruiser said:

Thanks Slugsta.  I do have bad hands due to the RA.  I can drive a car, but my hands and fingers start to ache after about 45 minutes.  

 

I would love to try many, but I don’t know of anywhere locally to try them.  

 

Do you take your electric wheelchair with you or rent one at the ship?  I see NCL only accepts scooters or electric wheelchairs with gel cell batteries.  

Tsdcruiser--------Since you specifically mentioned NCL in your last post, I making an assumption that you are cruising on NCL.  If I'm incorrect then disregard the rest of this post.  I think most cruise lines have "special needs" departments.  If you are not cruising with NCL then might check with your cruise line.

 

If you are cruising with NCL, I am attaching a link to their special needs function.  It might contain some helpful information for you.  I have cruised NCL with a scooter several times and I have found them very accommodating.

 

https://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising

 

Ray

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, rfkeith10 said:

Tsdcruiser--------Since you specifically mentioned NCL in your last post, I making an assumption that you are cruising on NCL.  If I'm incorrect then disregard the rest of this post.  I think most cruise lines have "special needs" departments.  If you are not cruising with NCL then might check with your cruise line.

 

If you are cruising with NCL, I am attaching a link to their special needs function.  It might contain some helpful information for you.  I have cruised NCL with a scooter several times and I have found them very accommodating.

 

https://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising

 

Ray

Yes, I do have a cruise booked with NCL.  Thank you for the link.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Tsdcruiser said:

Thanks Slugsta.  I do have bad hands due to the RA.  I can drive a car, but my hands and fingers start to ache after about 45 minutes.  

 

I would love to try many, but I don’t know of anywhere locally to try them.  

 

Do you take your electric wheelchair with you or rent one at the ship?  I see NCL only accepts scooters or electric wheelchairs with gel cell batteries.  

 

I have rented an electric wheelchair for my past few cruises, this has given me a chance to try them and decide what I need. I have now bought my own, so that will go with me on future cruises :)

 

The rental company in the UK is an hour or so away from us, so we went over to see what was on offer. I thought I was looking for a scooter, but they told me straight away that they wouldn't actually let me have one as they didn't think it suited my needs (I need to be leaning slightly backwards due to other problems and driving a scooter would automatically put me in the wrong position). I tried out a wheelchair there and then.

 

The first chair I rented was far too big and I had real problems getting it through doors. I wouldn't have had room for one of those at home either. I now have an 'ultra-light folding powerchair' as that is a good compromise between size/weight versus comfort.

 

Do you have any friends who use powerchars or scooters? Or could you try a scooter at a local mall? Our 'shopmobility' have a few different models that they rent out. 

 

Some people think that using a scooter/powerchair is a step backwards but I have found that it gives me far more independence when I cruise. I don't have to rely on OH having to push me everywhere, I can just go as and when I want :)

 

I wish you many happy cruises with whatever device you decide on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you slugsta.  I will try to find a rental agency in the area and see if I can try some.  

 

This is quite the adjustment.  I do feel like I am stepping backwards.  I appreciate your saying that.  I keep trying to say to myself that I can do without it and the disabled cabin.  I was surprised when my friends suggested I needed to get a handicapped cabin.  I know I’m fooling myself.  I went to the mall the other day with my cane and was in so much pain just walking for 20 minutes.  I do want independence on the cruise.  

 

Have you had any problem finding excursions that you can use your chair on?  I am going to Hawaii and am afraid I will miss out on everything. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't really done many organised excursions yet. I am lucky that my chair folds up to the size of a suitcase and weighs less than 30kg (66lbs) so OH can lift it. I think it would be more difficult if I had to manage it on my own. You have the benefit of travelling to one of the 50 United States, so the ADA will apply in Hawaii.

 

Could you manage to get up the steps onto a coach for an excursion? You could possibly have your mobility device put into the trunk - or even leave it on the ship if the excursion didn't involve any walking.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Slugsta said:

I haven't really done many organised excursions yet. I am lucky that my chair folds up to the size of a suitcase and weighs less than 30kg (66lbs) so OH can lift it. I think it would be more difficult if I had to manage it on my own. You have the benefit of travelling to one of the 50 United States, so the ADA will apply in Hawaii.

 

Could you manage to get up the steps onto a coach for an excursion? You could possibly have your mobility device put into the trunk - or even leave it on the ship if the excursion didn't involve any walking.

 

I could get up a couple steps with some help from family.  I am going to check out excursions and try to get some with limited walking.  Maybe leave on ship or just take off folding manual chair.  If not a lot of walking, maybe I can just use the cane.  As long as there isn’t a long walk to pick up the excursion vehicle.  I know we have 1 tender also.

 

Thanks for all your help.  I found a scooter/power chair store about an hour from here.  I am going to go check it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you find something that works for you.

 

 

ps - You might find this thread helpful, even though it refers to Holland America cruise line.

Edited by Slugsta
ps
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Slugsta said:

I hope you find something that works for you.

 

 

ps - You might find this thread helpful, even though it refers to Holland America cruise line. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with RiverCruising, the River Cruise Experts
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...