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A few questions about last minute cruise with parents

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So just booked Dec. 1st on Harmony at the last minute for 3 of us...daughter, wife and I.  It was last minute because we just found out last week my Father has ALS which is progressing rapidly.  Not knowing how much time he has, I decided to book the cruise and surprise him once onboard.  So I booked the 3 of us because Royal only had balcony rooms if I booked 3 people, so not wanting to miss a chance to sail with my father, I just booked it.


So I have a few questions, some about a no show, some about scooter and wheelchair access...so here goes


1. Not sure if my wife and daughter can get off of work with such short notice....so do I just do a no show at the terminal when I get there?  I have heard on here that if I do it before, they may try to change the room.  Also I plan to prepay the drink package, and again, I will have to do it for all 3 of us, so do they just refund the other 2 if they don't show up?  


2.  My Mom has stated that she is going to either bring a wheelchair or rent a scooter for my Dad.  Any suggestions one way or another?  or both?  This is all new to us and just want to be prepared as best we can.  


3.  Any suggestions as to good excursions that are wheelchair / scooter friendly?  Cruise goes to St. Marteen, San Juan and Coco Cay.  On Coco I got us a cabana which he will love.  He can walk, but his legs give out after about 100 yards or so.


4.  Anything else tip wise that anyone can suggest for making the trip more enjoyable for my Father would be great.


Again thanks in advance..

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21 minutes ago, Sail2k said:

Not sure if my wife and daughter can get off of work with such short notice....so do I just do a no show at the terminal when I get there?  I have heard on here that if I do it before, they may try to change the room.  Also I plan to prepay the drink package, and again, I will have to do it for all 3 of us, so do they just refund the other 2 if they don't show up?  

Yes and yes.

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I'm so sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis.  It's a wonderful thing you are planning and I hope you ALL have a fantastic week!


With regard to the drink package -- I'm aware of the current policy of buy one, buy for all.  But why pay for 3 if there's a good chance one or both of the others can't make it?  That seems such a waste of money.  If it were me, I'd wait on that purchase until you're more certain.  In the meantime, plan on paying for drinks as you go (can't possibly come out worse than buying 3 pkgs and being by yourself).  You can always add a pkg later, too.


With regard to wheelchairs and scooters, we've rented both in the past for my grandmother (who's also still mobile but runs out of steam after a bit).  Though the scooter would be a good way to give your dad some independence, they are big and take up room within the cabin.  If your parents didn't book an accessible cabin, this is going to be an issue.  It will likely make it through the door (barely), but then it will constantly be in the way.  And you cannot leave it in the hall or common area.  A collapsible wheel chair is much easier to accommodate, especially in a standard cabin.  However, it means someone will need to push Dad.  Barring any physical issues on your part, sounds like you wouldn't mind.  On CocoCay, they have sand-friendly wheelchairs.  Last time we stopped at a RCI private island, we pushed Gram ashore in her regular chair (plus there's a tram at CocoCay) and then swapped it for the beach wheelchair.  They held hers until we returned to swap back.  After trying both, my Gram prefers a standard chair (she now owns her own).  Easier to store, easier to deal with in the dining room or theater (etc), can take it on most private tours (we just make arrangements ahead of time directly with the tour operator), and less expensive to rent.  There are rental companies that will deliver equipment directly to your cabin and then pick it up after your cruise is complete.  Very convenient.  I'm not sure if I'm allowed to include links... but the company we used is Special Needs At Sea.  They have a website.  There may even be a forum here specifically for this topic.

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I just did a cruise with my uncle who’s had two strokes. He can walk but very slow and gets tired fast. We brought his collapsible wheelchair. It was easier then a scooter for our group. He had a regular room (he wanted a boardwalk room with the rest of us in a row). If he doesn’t have an accessible room, you’ll want a room with the bed away from the door to have room for the wheelchair/scooter.


Book whatever drink packages when you see a good deal (maybe Black Friday)? Then cancel if not all your party goes. 

At Coco Cay, we pushed his wheelchair right to the pool, there were paved walkways. They did have trams too, we just enjoyed the walk.


In St Maarten we did an Island bus tour. They were able to put the wheelchair in the compartment under the bus. It was a fun little tour. 

I hope you have a wonderful trip and make some great memories!

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Anything you pre-purchase (through your cruise-planner) will be refunded to the credit card used when making that purchase. For any no-shows the port fees/taxes will be credited to the credit card used to make your final payment or in your case the full payment since it was a last minute. 


Yes just do the no-show to avoid possible cabin change...Once at the terminal and onboard no one will ask or care and you certainly don't need to explain.



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Thanks for the replies....it really helps.  This is a first for all of us so want it to go as smoothly as possible.  My parents cruise a lot and so do we and we have never been able to go when they are able to go, but I figured that I know how surprised and excited he will be.


I think I am going to take all of your suggestions and get the drink package for 3 and let the chips fall where they may, if my wife and daughter can go, great, if not I will just let them reimburse me the difference.  We always get the drink package, just wasn’t exactly sure how it worked if there were no shows.  


I will say this, Royal was really helpful about going above and beyond to secretly link our dinner reservation and show reservations together without the need to confirm with my Mom.  I know normally they have to get the permission of the other party.  So thanks to the casino people at club royal for making it happen on the down low.


Now just trying to figure out how, where and when to surprise them...lol should be fun.  

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Definitely bring the wheelchair, if he doesn't have an accessible cabin, I would skip the scooter.  Depending on his balance issues, a scooter would make me nervous if he isn't a regular user of one.  I know my Dad had a hard time balancing himself in a wheelchair as his symptoms progressed, a scooter never would have worked.  You might also want to order a shower stool through special needs for his cabin if he is not in an accessible cabin.  If there is any motion at all, this will give him the ability to sit and be safe.  Just don't try to do too much in port, he will tire quickly and keep him hydrated in the heat.  


It is wonderful you are able to do this cruise with your parents.  I am sorry about your father's diagnosis, cherish the time you have with your Dad.

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