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pawzz51

Navigating my 1st cruise with physical limitations

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This will be my 6th cruise but 1st since the onset of an autoimmune disease that has left me with some mobility limitations that I pray don’t put too much of a burden on my husband as we travel. I can walk short distances, but can’t do stairs or steep inclines. I’m very concerned about being able to stand in line to check in at the terminal and actually getting on the ship. I do not use a wheelchair at home, and shouldn’t need one while on the cruise. I feel embarrassed to ask for a wheelchair at checkin but I also have to figure out how to handle getting around town and shore excursions. I desperately want to be able to function without help but I have to be realistic. Anyone else in a similar situation that can give me advice?  During my previous cruises, I remember admiring people on the cruise that did not let their physical limitations stop them, and now I’m in that position but nervous about how to make it all work.

any help, advice would be appreciated.

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Ask for wheelchair assisted boarding.

 

and consider hiring a scooter for the cruise, the standing in line can be a problem

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you don't mention which ship/port.. but wheelchair assist may not be an option until after you have checked in..so the security line and the check in line could be an issue.  as someone with an autoimmune disease myself ,  its far better to have the assistance then to to not and have the cruise ruined because you overdid it the first day.  

 

 some ports will  send  you up in the elevator if you have a cane.  Tampa does that for me and sends me through the  'less congested'   line at Customs at the end.  ( it skips the rat maze )  Baltimore's Ramp of Doom is impressive and scary for even  regular passengers.   but there you  board on like deck 2. 

 

personally, I would look into bringing your own chair or rollater for use on board and in port.  

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I travel with a travel size transporter that folds down. You do need someone to push you, but it has let my husband and I have more outings while traveling.  Travellite and Karmen are the brands that come to mind, but there are others. Some fold to carryon size. Medical devices are in addition to your carryon bag. 

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Hi pawzz51,

l also have an autoimmune disease (MS) and have mobility issues.  About 5-6 years ago I started using a cane and have graduated to using a rollator around home and for walking short distances.  At times I use a scooter and a wheelchair.  I have to admit that each new piece of equipment was hard for me to accept using.  I was physically ready for new equipment long before I was emotionally ready.  I suggest that you swallow your pride (something that physically challenged persons do quite a bit) and ask for all the assistance you need.  Gangways can be long and steep.  Corridors can be long, elevator waits can be long. We bring our own wheelchair so that it is always ready in case of fatigue setting in. Save your energy for fun.

Paula

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I totally understand that you feel embarrassed, because I felt the same way myself as my disability progressed.  I realized that people are so nice about holding doors and elevators that I got over it.  On our upcoming cruise I will be bringing both a walker and my mobility scooter.  Last cruise we had a transporter that we used off the ship but it was difficult for my husband to push me around all the time.  Go on your cruise and have a great time!  Try to get a disabled cabin if you can.

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In 2004 I was recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, and needed a wheelchair or walker. We took a Hawai'i cruise and I borrowed a wheelchair from the ship. They took good care of us and loaded me, chair and all, into the tenders when necessary.

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We started cruising in the late eighties, but that was before, I too, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes mobility issues for me. I was certain I would never use, of all things, a travel mobility scooter, but we completed our 26th cruise in March and my sixth with a scooter and it's the best purchase we've ever made. My DH suggested purchasing the scooter for travel and to use in large venues.It enables me to travel around the ship without him having to push me in a chair. I don't need an accessible cabin as I can maneuver with my cane, or grab the wall or whatever is available. I started out using a rollator and that might be an option for you. You can sit down on the seat if you're tired. Don't let your mobility issues limit your activities. Go and have a great time.

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I have a disability and cannot do stairs either. I use a cane and when boarding a ship somebody seeing me walk with great difficulty always offers assistance,usually a wheel chair.

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23 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

I have a disability and cannot do stairs either. I use a cane and when boarding a ship somebody seeing me walk with great difficulty always offers assistance,usually a wheel chair.

Yep I boarded on cruise with my foot in a moon boot, wheelchair applies to help me board.

 

then as I deteriorated, on a walking stick, same thing.

 

now I have my own chairs and am quickly directed to priority boarding.

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Wow! What an awesome response to my pitiful post about not knowing how to handle my limitations while cruising. Everyone who took the time to respond needs to know how much their encouraging words help. I’m taking every bit of advice seriously and I’m going to make it work. 

Thank you so much,

Lori

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Pazz51,

 

on 2 separate occasions people have told me that they were glad to see me doing what I enjoyed!  One instance a woman said her husband who said as much older than I was brought his rollator at her insistence but refused to use it because it made him look old!  She hoped seeing me would change his mind!  At that point I needed to use the rollator for balance and the seat.  

 

Glad you a exploring options.  I’m with my scooter 1.5 years and still trying to figure out to get most of what I want!  If I’m told no, I expect to know why not!  Often that has been cobblestones which I think are worse on wheelchairs.  

 

My husband had to push me in a wheelchair aboard ship due to an asthma attach during waiting forwarding shuttle.  What a drag on both of us!   With the rollator he sort f ignored me until he got to a barrier, like 3 steps he knew I couldn’t manage.  Same thing now with the scooter although he helps with the curb cuts because otherwise he has to life the scooter down the curb!   

 

Recently we were in a large store and got separated from his sister.  Rather than him walking around to find her he knew I could get there faster.  It’s fun to be the one that has to do the searching, at least on occasion😇

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It's all about the quality of life and up until 4 years ago we cruised twice a year happy and able bodied, but then life threw a few curve balls and we've adapted...so with some planning, go enjoy the many benefits of a cruise. We have had great response from wheelchair boarding and disembarkation with both Celebrity and Princess. My DH requires a scooter to assist with more than 10 steps, limited by physical issues, so we rent one. The staff have been outstanding, most recently on a 7 night Equinox cruise. He is on an oxygen concentrator to take care of a scarred lung. He sleeps sitting up...not a problem, we rent a motorized recliner chair, have it set up near the bathroom, viola'  quality sleep. Make your plans and go enjoy! Happy sails. 

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5 hours ago, ginnynj said:

It's all about the quality of life and up until 4 years ago we cruised twice a year happy and able bodied, but then life threw a few curve balls and we've adapted...so with some planning, go enjoy the many benefits of a cruise. We have had great response from wheelchair boarding and disembarkation with both Celebrity and Princess. My DH requires a scooter to assist with more than 10 steps, limited by physical issues, so we rent one. The staff have been outstanding, most recently on a 7 night Equinox cruise. He is on an oxygen concentrator to take care of a scarred lung. He sleeps sitting up...not a problem, we rent a motorized recliner chair, have it set up near the bathroom, viola'  quality sleep. Make your plans and go enjoy! Happy sails. 

Can’t move on without saying how great the staff are. I use a power wheelchair, a couple of times I’ve had staff in the buffet told by management (no matter my objections that it wasn’t necessary) to carry my plate and stuff for me. People tend to forget that once you are in a wheelchair, or scooter, you also have use of at least one less hand as you need to control your device.

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I totally understand.  I too am planning my first cruise since my autoimmune disease has worsened and caused mobility issues.  I have been on a cane for 2 years and even with that, I struggle to go any distance at all.  The cane itself also causes a lot of pain to use as I have hand and wrist issues.  I am planning to take a transfer folding wheelchair for the airport and also for the tender port and renting a scooter for the rest of the cruise.  I have reserved an accessible cabin because of the scooter and the fact that I need all the grab bars in the bath room as well as the seat in the shower.  Also, by the time the cruise comes (2 years), I may be totally wheelchair bound.  That was a very hard decision for me.  My family insisted I need it and I finally realize they are correct.

 

I am on the younger side, so I understand your reluctance.  I will tell you, I did Universal Studios a couple years ago when I was in better condition.  I rented a wheelchair and would have never been able to enjoy it without the wheelchair.  For me it comes down to staying home or not worrying about what others think and enjoying my life as much as I can.  Get the assistance you need so you can enjoy yourself.  

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TsdCruiser, absolutely fabulous! You are right, worry not about what others think, but use the support services and devices that allow you to use your energy for a life that is full without regrets! Wishing you many days of enjoying life.  Happy Sails!

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Please consider renting a scooter or powerchair. It makes the cruise so much more enjoyable if you aren't hurting or struggling. You don't indicate which port you'd be sailing from. Some have places outside the port where you can pick up the scooter or chair, others require you to use wheelchair assistance to get on the ship and the scooter or chair is left in your room. I understand feeling embarrassed, as I did the first time I required assistance, but you deserve to enjoy your trip just as much as anyone else. It's nice to feel a little more independence if you have a mobility device.

 

 

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12 hours ago, VirginiaIsForCruisers said:

Please consider renting a scooter or powerchair. It makes the cruise so much more enjoyable if you aren't hurting or struggling. You don't indicate which port you'd be sailing from. Some have places outside the port where you can pick up the scooter or chair, others require you to use wheelchair assistance to get on the ship and the scooter or chair is left in your room. I understand feeling embarrassed, as I did the first time I required assistance, but you deserve to enjoy your trip just as much as anyone else. It's nice to feel a little more independence if you have a mobility device.

 

 

 

I second this! If you rent a scooter or powerchair you will save your energy for doing the things you enjoy, rather than trying to manage and being exhausted before your cruise is halfway done.

 

I know I have said this on other threads, but I think it bears repeating - Using a powered device gives me so much more independence, not less. It means I can go where I want, when I want without anyone having to go to the effort of pushing me. It has also given my OH more freedom as he can do his own thing onboard, safe in the knowledge that I can take care of myself :classic_smile:

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On 7/21/2019 at 6:56 AM, spookwife said:

you don't mention which ship/port.. but wheelchair assist may not be an option until after you have checked in..so the security line and the check in line could be an issue.  as someone with an autoimmune disease myself ,  its far better to have the assistance then to to not and have the cruise ruined because you overdid it the first day.  

 

 some ports will  send  you up in the elevator if you have a cane.  Tampa does that for me and sends me through the  'less congested'   line at Customs at the end.  ( it skips the rat maze )  Baltimore's Ramp of Doom is impressive and scary for even  regular passengers.   but there you  board on like deck 2. 

 

personally, I would look into bringing your own chair or rollater for use on board and in port.  

 

Even on deck 2 I had them carrying the scooter, they could have drug it, but thoughtnit was heavier! 

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We've done a large number of river and ocean cruises since 2004 but are about to take our first cruise using a transport wheelchair for excursions and a rollater on board.  My wife has osteoarthritis and by holding on to me and using a cane can walk short distances, go up and down a few steps, and get in and out of minivans and cars.  We bought a transport chair for those outings involving a lot of walking and plan on using it throughout the cruise  - i.e. going through airports, exploring in the neighborhood of hotels, ship excursions, embarking and disembarking the ship, etc.  We are renting the rollater for on board use only so she can get around the ship if I go on an excursion and she decides to stay behind.  We are looking forward with some trepidation to this first time adventure.  Hopefully everything will be OK.  Would appreciate any hints to make this seem a bit less daunting.  We've notified the airlines, private excursion providers, and the cruise line of our mobility issue. We are cruising on Oceania from Southampton to Barcelona.

 

Barbara and Bob

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Posted (edited)

I'm also new to traveling with limitations, and I've decided to go with a scooter for my cruise in December.  I decided it would make traveling easier for both me and my friend.

Edited by katmu

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I am not sure where your cruise will bring you, but nowadays they have companies where you can hire a scooter. In selected ports, they will bring it onboard for you and when your cruise ends, you can just leave it onboard and the scooter will be collected again.

And think about using  a scooter in a different way. You will not be restricted as much anymore cause you can go anywhere  by yourself. And it will also be more comfortable for your husband. Cause pushing a wheelchair is not for the light hearted. My mom is in a wheelchair and its  not easy to push all day. 

One more positive thing, your husband can actually walk next to you, not behind you pushing the chair. 

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On 8/21/2019 at 12:15 PM, katmu said:

I'm also new to traveling with limitations, and I've decided to go with a scooter for my cruise in December.  I decided it would make traveling easier for both me and my friend.

 

On 8/21/2019 at 1:48 PM, angie7911922 said:

I am not sure where your cruise will bring you, but nowadays they have companies where you can hire a scooter. In selected ports, they will bring it onboard for you and when your cruise ends, you can just leave it onboard and the scooter will be collected again.

And think about using  a scooter in a different way. You will not be restricted as much anymore cause you can go anywhere  by yourself. And it will also be more comfortable for your husband. Cause pushing a wheelchair is not for the light hearted. My mom is in a wheelchair and its  not easy to push all day. 

One more positive thing, your husband can actually walk next to you, not behind you pushing the chair. 

We considered renting a scooter.  I don't think my wife would be a very good driver for it.  Also my understanding, which is probably wrong, is that the scooters are heavy and are not foldable.  We plan on using a cane when onboard the ship and for getting off and on the ship.  I'll carry the wheelchair and put it into service once we are on the dock.

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