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Best Cruise Line for Handicapped Cruising


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We have sailed on both Princess and Holland America. Of the two we found HAL to be more "scooter" friendly, etc. Part of the reason is the lack of cleaning carts cluttering the hallways. On Princess, at times, it was hard to get anywhere because of the cleaning carts. We'd stop and wait for a crew member to come move them - which they did graciously, but it was an obstacle. Both lines were great with getting off at ports and helping DH get up and down the ramps with his scooter. We found the Princess ships, because they were larger than the HAL ships that we sail on, to be more crowded and DH was more nervous with the scooter as a result. Fortunately he can walk (and should more than he does) so that forced him to do some more walking. 


Karen

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we have found that the newer the ship, the better the accessibility.  Royal Caribbean and NCL both have been really good for my husband to get around in his power chair

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I only used my scooter on Carnival and I've never had any problems. The crew were always helpful, those passengers with scooters, wheelchairs, etc. are always allowed to board first. I never need assistance on the ramps, or using elevators. We've been cruising for a long time and we cruised with RCCL, Celebrity, and NCL and I didn't have mobility issues then, so I can't speak to how those cruise lines are for disabled folks. 

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We have been on Holland, RCCL, Celebrity and NCL with a scooter and they were all just fine.  Plenty of assistance from the crew for the mobility challenged for embarking, disembarking and getting up and down the ramp at port stops.   Oh, and dining room assistance, too.   My husband has always been able to take his scooter to the table and then one of the waiters is more than happy to drive it off and park it and then bring it back.   We would go on any of these lines with a scooter without hesitation.  There are plenty of passengers on board with mobility issues. 

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We're partial to RCCL. They bend over backwards to help. The newer the ship, the better. Pay attention whether there are tender ports, you may not be able to get off the ship depending on water conditions.

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I haven't cruised as much as others on here but have a couple things worth noting. If you need an accessible cabin you will most likely need to book really far ahead of time with Carnival, NCL and RCI especially. Lucky me found a last minute accessible Alaska cruise balcony cabin on Princess (good price too!) . We leave in 3 weeks! This makes Princess my new go-to favorite!

Also if you are trying to be frugal don't pay for stuff you don't need. On RCI and NCL they  are new and shiny but also have attractions that my daughter and I can't do ie. waterslide, spa, ropes course, anything that puts her in the water, plank, bungee jumping, rock climbing wall, Rip cord, race track and  zipline. Princess doesn't have any of that stuff but does have a promenade perfect for us to stroll on, without paying for a new /shiny ship with things we can't do. So evaluate if the ship meets your needs, check out the cruise deck plans, make sure they have plenty of elevators. Good luck and have fun! 

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2 hours ago, Longstockingpippi1 said:

Also if you are trying to be frugal don't pay for stuff you don't need. On RCI and NCL they  are new and shiny but also have attractions that my daughter and I can't do ie. waterslide, spa, ropes course, anything that puts her in the water, plank, bungee jumping, rock climbing wall, Rip cord, race track and  zipline. Princess doesn't have any of that stuff but does have a promenade perfect for us to stroll on, without paying for a new /shiny ship with things we can't do. So evaluate if the ship meets your needs, check out the cruise deck plans, make sure they have plenty of elevators. Good luck and have fun! 

 

I've only sailed on NCL, but will be going on an RCL cruise next year. The NCL jewel class ships are great in that there aren't a lot of the inaccessible features you mention. There are promenade decks, however, that are wonderful. They also have three elevator banks (forward, midship, and aft). The most difficult part of the jewel class ships is access to the aft MDR. It's only accessible via stairs or a single elevator. Since both MDRs serve the same menu, I just go to the midship MDR, which is easily accessible. I also love the Great Outdoors, the outdoor buffet at the aft of the ship, which is a lovely place to hang out. One tip: cabins 9150 and 9650 (both are accessible cabins) have a wacky pole right in the middle of the cabin, which makes it tough to get around with a mobility device. 9148 and 9648 are much better as they don't have the pole.

 

I've always had the majority of the crew be super helpful. Whenever I've been in the buffet, at least one team member will hurry over and offer to hold my plate and/or cup and escort me to one of the handicapped seats. I can walk a short ways and really wanted to see Grand Cayman, which is only accessible via tender. As my cabin was a long way from the tender platform, I went down in the scooter and asked if there was somewhere I could leave it so I wouldn't be too exhausted. The crew was so kind, they let me park the scooter just a few feet from the gangway. It made the trip so much nicer. The cabin steward on my first cruise would see me from 20 cabins away and sprint to me, shouting, "Miss Virginia, Miss Virginia!! Let me get the door for you".  I think you'll find helpful crew on most ships.

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