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katmu

1st Cruise since Accident - Have many questions

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Hello-

 

I thought it would be best to post this here, but let me know if my questions would be better on the Princess forum.  My best friend and I are looking to sail on the 7 night Western Caribbean on the Sky Princess on 12/7.  My TA is recommending that I book an accessible cabin and also think about getting either a scooter or a powerchair for the cruise.  I fell off my roof last September, and landed standing up so I now have 2 plates and 10 pins holding my right knee and upper shin together along with extensive scar tissue, nerve damage, and osteoarthritis in that knee. My range of motion is still somewhat limited in that leg. At home, I walk with a cane and use a shower chair to get in and out of the shower at home (it's a tub with a shower as I haven't remodeled since my accident last year).  I can walk short distances and do a few stairs, leading with my good leg.  I'm a little hesitant to book the accessible cabins as my friend and I definitely wanted either a balcony or a mini-suite and the TA is saying that it's showing that it would be a guarantee.  How do the cruise lines handle guarantees on accessible cabins?  Also, I've only used either a wheelchair or powerchair for short periods so any recommendations on how to decide if I need one, and what might be best for me would be helpful.  Thank you very much.  I'm still trying to adjust to my new normal.

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Sorry, forgot to mention we are switching from an Allure of the Seas cruise as it was one of the sailings affected by the Azipod issue and my friend really wanted to stay with an itinerary closer to our original itinerary so that's why we picked this one.

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Based on what it says on the Princess website for accessible staterooms for your sailing, the only ones available are suites, specifically as of today, stateroom R617.  That does not mean that there are none in other categories, just that they aren't showing up on their website as available.   An accessible guarantee room means you will get an accessible room, but you will not know where it is located on the ship until they assign it to you. 

 

But in any event, if you are going to rent (or buy) a scooter or power chair, you will need an accessible room in order to get it through the stateroom door and to store it in the room (they cannot be stored in the hall).   Plan B might be if you have a scooter/chair and no accessible room is available, you might contact the Princess access department and ask what they recommend for people bringing a scooter/chair who do not have an accessible room.  Their contact information is accessofficeprincess@princesscruises.com     Princess will need to know in any event if you are bringing a scooter/power chair.  You might consider trying out both a scooter and power chair to see what fits your needs best.  If you have a physical therapist they may be able to help you decide. 

 

For someone with mobility issues, the ships are huge and the docks are often very long.  Not to mention being able to get around once in port.   (You will not be able to take a scooter/power chair on the tender at tender ports.)   Having a scooter/chair may make the difference between being able to get off at a port or staying on the ship.  

 

By the way, accessible staterooms are usually booked very quickly so if you are considering one, you might want to reserve it while one is still available.  

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I can't speak to Princess-specific, but I strongly encourage you to rent a scooter from either Special Needs at Sea or Scootaround. Ships are huge and it's a long walk to and fro. Also, there are many times you may have to stand and wait in line. Having a scooter makes it doable.

 

If you are not used to mobility equipment, and have full use of your arms, I'd recommend a scooter over a powerchair (electric wheelchair). Scooters are a little more forgiving for new users. Powerchairs are managed via a joystick. That joystick is VERY sensitive. I've written about it on CC before, but I almost ran a friend's powerchair into the local pool because I didn't realize how sensitive that joystick is. If you have a medical supply store near you, you can go and try one or more to see how you like them. The other things I prefer about scooters are: there are more places to put your feet/move your legs, and the hopper in front gives you a little buffer between you and other people.

 

You'll want to get the accessible cabin sooner, rather than later as they do fill up fast. I appreciate the roll in shower with chair because I have a hard time swinging my legs over the side of a tub.

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Thank you for the access office info.  I called and spoke to them yesterday.  I also went ahead and reserved a scooter from Special Needs at Sea.

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I think you made the right decision.  I've been having neurological issues for about 1 1/2 years now and if you are like me I think it's hard to move on to the new normal.  I have to have the shower chair and use the cane.  Hoping I won't need a scooter for a long time (or ever).  But I do know once you accept you need something, come to terms with it, life gets better.

 

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If you are in the market to purchase a scooter, I would highly recommend a Smartscoot. I have used it for 3 years now. It is 39 pounds, 27 + 12 if you remove the seat. It will even fit in a Smart car. It has been invaluable for travel, especially cruising. You take it right up to the plane door and it’s brought to the plane door immediately upon arrival. No waiting for wheelchair assistance.  And if you can’t get an accessible room, it fits under the desk in most cabins.   Have a look at their website Smartscoot.com. And get the basket!  If you give them the code 6857 you will get $100 off.  

 

I also like it cuz it’s small and fast and doesn’t make me feel so old and decrepit. 😁

 

 

If you cannot get an accessible room, go to guest services and they can often provide a shower seat and hand held shower head. 

 

 

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I would speak to your doctor before you move to a scooter.   With severe injuries my sister was encouraged to be as mobile as possible as it would help her healing and recovery.   She has now regained all of her mobility.   Once you lose muscle strength it is very difficult to get it back.

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The scooter would only be for the trip, and even then not all of the time.  I walk with the cane at home and still do all of my chores other than mowing my lawn myself.  I had an MRI last Friday and I'm waiting to hear from the surgeon on next steps.

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This was some good information.  I will be cruising for the first time since being injured in the line of duty.  I am now in a wheelchair.  I even contemplated cancelling the cruise because I figured there wouldn't be much to do on a cruise for someone in a wheelchair. Not to mention excursions.  We have booked an accessible cabin but I had no idea renting scooters or even wheelchairs was an option.  Do the scooters have a back rest where someone can lean back if they need to or is it like a bike seat?  Thank you.

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The Smartscoot has a full seat back and good sized padded seat. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, SouthernSun said:

This was some good information.  I will be cruising for the first time since being injured in the line of duty.  I am now in a wheelchair.  I even contemplated cancelling the cruise because I figured there wouldn't be much to do on a cruise for someone in a wheelchair. Not to mention excursions.  We have booked an accessible cabin but I had no idea renting scooters or even wheelchairs was an option.  Do the scooters have a back rest where someone can lean back if they need to or is it like a bike seat?  Thank you.

Check with your cruise line to see what rental companies they allow.  I know at least one cruise line only allows one major mobility rental company (if you rent) on board.   The two main ones are https://www.specialneedsatsea.com and Scootaround.com  .   You can even look at their websites to see what they offer.   They offer great scooters and yes they have backrests. 

 

There are lots of people on cruises who have scooters.   Some people have their own and many rent them.  If you rent them from one of the two mentioned companies above, your scooter will be waiting for you in your stateroom and you leave it there on your final day when you leave the cruise.  

 

Check with your cruise line about accessible excursions via their Access Dept, as that department will sometimes have accessible excursions that are not listed in the main excursion booklet. 

 

In my opinion, a cruise is one of the best vacations for someone in  a wheelchair or a scooter.   You will be booking your next cruise before you're off the ship!

 

Note:   if your itinerary has tender ports, you cannot take a scooter aboard the tender. . 

Edited by kokopelli-az

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After a few years w/a cane & then a rollator/walker, I rented a scooter (Special Needs at Sea) for the first time in Aug. for a 16 day Princess  cruise.  It made the cruise so much easier!   I also took my rollator/walker since we had 3 tender ports.

 

I can walk/do a few steps, but not for very far.  However, the ships are approx. 915 ft. long -- that's 3 football fields!  I also had an accessible cabin for the first time. 

 

I've reserved a scooter for my next cruise; that's w/a regular cabin (no HA cabin was available), so I've reserved a smaller (19"), folding scooter that fits thru the cabin door.  I have a 3rd scooter reserved for a long cruise next year, in an HA cabin.

 

The 3 rental costs would have paid for my own scooter by now, but I don't have the necessary adaptions on my car or anyone to help me move the scooter.  I  usually travel solo, so I must be able to manage my equipment & luggage.  The airport wheelchair "pushers" are life-savers!

 

Moving about on a huge cruise ship for a week or 2 is a LOT of work for your recovering body.  Don't hesitate to use the mobility tools available to you; you'll have a lot more fun!

 

 

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16 hours ago, DRS/NC said:

After a few years w/a cane & then a rollator/walker, I rented a scooter (Special Needs at Sea) for the first time in Aug. for a 16 day Princess  cruise.  It made the cruise so much easier!   I also took my rollator/walker since we had 3 tender ports.

 

The 3 rental costs would have paid for my own scooter by now, but I don't have the necessary adaptions on my car or anyone to help me move the scooter.  I  usually travel solo, so I must be able to manage my equipment & luggage.  The airport wheelchair "pushers" are life-savers!

This sounds exactly like my husband (the cane, then rollator, etc).   He was kicking and screaming about renting a scooter because he didn't "want to".   We went to our local mobility store and he drove one (similar to the ones they rent for the ships) and thought it was ok but he still didn't want to rent one for our next cruise.   I finally said that I was going to go ahead and rent one for him and if he didn't like it he could use his rollator.  When he took off on that rented scooter on the ship, he was like a different person.   Previously, he did a lot of staying in the room because he knew it was going to be hard to get around.   It has made a world of difference in our cruises and he can't wait to get to our stateroom when we first embark so he can get "his scooter".  (He has his transport chair to use prior to embarking the ship for the airport, etc, and it stays in the stateroom until we disembark.)

 

We have rented scooters numerous times and will probably never purchase one, although we could have purchased a few scooters with all the rental money we've spent.    Money totally well spent. 

 

And thumbs up for the "airport pushers" !    And also the ship wheelchair pushers who assist wheelchairs (the ship's or passenger's personal wheelchairs) getting on the ship at embarkation and getting off the ship at disembarkation.    Also the ship's crew who help people with mobility devices use the ramps when getting off (or on) the ship at port stops.

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I  just came back from a rather long B2B cruise - Norway, Iberia and on to Rome - this on Holland America.

 

I live in a condo, had two lumbar and onw cervical surgeries and also aged - 87 come April.

Buying a scooter is out of the question for me - space in a condo is a limiting factor.

 

I have been on at least three cruises where I rented a scooter - the last being from Special Needs.

For exercise, I used a rollator for the most part on the ship. The Nieuw Statendam is one of HAL's larger ships.

 

The scooter could not fit in our obscured-view cabin and the crew kept moving the scooter when we went to sleep, kept it charged, and would bring it back in the morning.

 

When the bought-tours were over and there were several hours left in the port, armed with a map and phone,, I would go out with the scooter and explored parts of the city.  Of course this would depend on whether the city would be regarded as "safe" but I had no problems in any of the ports that we had.

 

The ship's people would assist passengers using scooters at the docks - helping you get it down or up the gangplank/ramps.

 

Having the scooter is, in my opinion, is a MUST!

 

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Sorry - should have added that I was using the rollator for exercise on shipboard though the last two days on the cruise, I did use the scooter more and more. If you are using the buffet for meals, a rollator with a seat (use it as a tray) is better as a scooter only has a basket. If you are in the dining room, a scooter is OK though yoou may need a cane to do a few steps to your chai.

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