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Help with disabled relative who probably shouldn’t cruise but is insisting.


Petoonya
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I have an in-law relative who had a stroke two months ago. He can only walk with a walker. He’s never driven anything so I have difficulty believing he could even navigate a scooter. 

 

We we are sailing Bliss to Alaska in May with our son and daughter-in-law and the man affected is DIL’s father. I think his deciding to travel is pretty crazy as not even his doctor believes it’s a good idea. I don’t know even how he would transfer to get on a plane- wheelchairs only drop one outside the door of the plane and the person has to make way to the seat on their own.

 

Not only that but this gentleman and wife don’t speak English with no motivation to learn. Which means my DIL will have to be at his side night and day. The dad had his heart set on going to Alaska before going back to Nepal. 

 

I’m strongly discouraging my DIL from allowing this as she has the last word. Final payment is due upcoming week. She says the cruise gives him motivation to get better which is true. So I get that angle.

 

I have cruised for 35 years mostly Oceania, Windstar and Celebrity and see too many situations where a person can’t get by without being able to stand for at least a minute or not have to put up with some stairs disembarking or problems with the tender. One’s balance comes into play too.

 

Any disabled persons have some encourage or discouragement? thanks!

PS- already posted question on disabled board

Edited by Petoonya
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Here is the  link to accessible cruising on NCL  I would give them a call and let them know..And they can discuss it with you as well. What they can provide and what will be a struggle for him. Scooters aren't that hard once you get the hang of it. So maybe that is an option for him.

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

 

Here are some of things on their list they assist with:

 

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20 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

 I don’t know even how he would transfer to get on a plane- wheelchairs only drop one outside the door of the plane and the person has to make way to the seat on their own.

 

 

 

This is incorrect.  You may or may not have seen them, but the airports provide what is known as an "aisle chair" that can be used to get the passenger all the way to their assigned seat.  The Airserv (or whatever company the airport is using) agent will then assist in getting the passenger into the seat.

 

I do not begrudge ANYONE from attempting to overcome, or at least manage, their disabilities and live life to the fullest.  Too many just give up and are just waiting to die.

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People recover from strokes ( and surgery) at different speeds and with varying success.   I assume he's  working hard towards his recovery.  The cruise isn't until May so he could make great strides by then!

Not the same thing of course, but I had a knee replaced this past July.  10 weeks later, in Sept, I was on a W Med cruise walking at least 5 miles a day. I worked hard because I wanted to do this trip.  Maybe the cruise to Alaska will give him that push.

 

Not an NCL cruise, but this old trip report for Alaska may be helpful.  The person used a walker at home, and her daughter brought a transport wheelchair with them to use on the ship and off.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2412907-carnival-legend-made-mom-an-alaskan-legend/

 

Edited by mapleleaves
typo
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We've cruised with elderly and disabled relatives on Carnival and NCL.  Both lines are really good at providing assistance, and they will help you to understand what they can and cannot do.  For embarkation and disembarkation, they are happy to wheel you on to or off of the ship, but that is it.  They aren't going to provide someone to push you around for the entire trip (or even the entire day).  He will need to provide his own "transportation" on the ship and in port, whether it's electric-powered or people-powered.  I would hope he had an accessible cabin, which provides enough room to navigate aids such as walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters.  Find out from NCL who their preferred vendor is, and you can rent a scooter (which he should be able to handle -- let him practice before leaving) that will be placed in his stateroom before he embarks.  All he would have to do is charge it each night and then leave it right where he found it when your cruise is over.

 

Bottom line -- it can be done, it is done every week.  It does take extra planning and extra patience, though.

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My husband had a spinal cord injury and was/is quadriplegic. He can move his arms, hands, legs and feel although he can't feel them. This limits him to what or what he can't do. Cruising, we have found is the one thing that he can do and really enjoys. We do fly to the ports. The airlines are really proficient at helping people with disabilities. I order him a scooter and he has the freedom to come and go as he pleases. The only thing he can't do is stairs and getting on to a tender to get off the ship. While everyone else is off the ship, we find things to do and enjoy our trip. Planning a cruise gives my husband something to look forward to. I can't imagine him giving up and not going due to his disability. It makes me happy to see him having a good time. The only advice I can give is for him to get a handicapped accessible room and rent a scooter. They are very easy to drive and navigate. It wouldn't take long for him to learn to drive it and enjoy himself.

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You can be completely confined to a wheelchair and still fly and cruise.   It just needs to be arranged.
 

Practically anyone can learn to drive a scooter.  


As for not speaking English on the cruise - perhaps a translation app on someone's cell phone can help.

 

 

Edited by DinaS
Typo :)
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    I had the same thoughts as packer 99. How will the gentleman take care of himself on the cruise ? Is he going to be alone in his cabin ?

Perhaps your DIL could hire a health aide to accompany him on the cruise to help him with his needs ?

I have cared for my parents in their elder years.Dad had early onset  Alzheimer’s and passed at 73. Mom lived to 93. Having aides ( we considered  them to be angels) made caretaking so much easier.

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25 minutes ago, MJSailors said:

.....Perhaps your DIL could hire a health aide to accompany him on the cruise to help him with his needs ?......

It looks to me like it is a counsellor she needs to hire and help to tell her father this is not going to work for anyone, and not to be so selfish. It has disaster written all over, particularly when the OP states that even his doctor thinks it's a bad idea.....why should the OP tolerate this proposed imposition?

 

My heart goes out to the OP, having anticipated this cruise for so long and now it might be turned upside down because he wants his daughter by his side.......not good for anyone involved! Personally, I would tell DIL that if they are joining the cruise then I stay home.

Edited by hamrag
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For our last cruise, we bought a new combination walker and transport chair for my mother.   She used it as a walker for short distances, but we used it as a wheel chair when we needed to get from one side of the ship to the other.  She also used it to sit in for dining so she didn't have to get in an out of chairs.

 

Airlines always ask if she needs assistance getting to her seat in the plane (she does not) but I am sure they would provide it to her if she did.

 

My mom does not do tenders:  she stays on board for tender ports.  But I think they could help her if she was brave enough to go.

 

Make sure you get a handicapped room: most staterooms that are not handicapped have a step up to get into the bathroom.  If you don't have a handicapped room, you will probably not be able to fit any sort of scooter in it.  We had a concierge inside suite (step up to bathroom) on the Joy which did have room for mom's walker/chair.

 

Good luck and happy travels!

 

 

Edited by FitchburgWIFamily
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One thing to consider would be his expectations for the cruise.  If he is content to stay onboard, then the mobility and language issues aren't as much of a concern as they would be if he is anticipating going ashore and on excursions.

 

Many NCL excursions are not suitable for those with mobility issues - at the very least, the person usually has to be able to get on and off of a bus.  So you might wish to look into private excursions for your family, both because of the mobility and language - plus with a group of 6, it's probably cheaper anyway.

 

The Alaska ports usually don't require tenders, but that depends on a couple of factors, including how many ships are in port that day.

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My mother had several strokes (but did not need a walker).  She was disabled and feared traveling.  I wish she did not have that fear that many/most disabled people have to travel.  So my reaction to this was really positive that his disability will not hold him back from traveling.  I say more power to him.  As long as your daughter in law is prepared to translate and assist him, I would not get in the way.  She can explain the expectations of cruising with thousands of passengers.  But no disability should ever stop you from what you want to do.

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Why should they learn English if they live in Nepal? I think that if it’s important to DIL for her parents to come, they should be welcome, especially if they don’t live in the same country. Cruising is one of the easiest ways for those with physical disabilities to travel.

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2 minutes ago, mjkacmom said:

Why should they learn English if they live in Nepal? I think that if it’s important to DIL for her parents to come, they should be welcome, especially if they don’t live in the same country. Cruising is one of the easiest ways for those with physical disabilities to travel.

They don’t live in Nepal. They’ve lived in the US for 3 years relatives helping. Going back for 6 month visit.

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I agree with the suggestion that the man should plan to spend much of his time onboard unless the port is an easy one. A tender can put the people assisting at risk. I saw a very sad situation with three crew members helping a petrified man attempt to board a tender.  Sometimes, we shouldn't do things even though we technically can. 

Don't put yourself at risk physically.

Edited by Markanddonna
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I think there are definitely options that can make this work- much easier than sandy beaches. 
 

as someone mentioned, wheelchair service to the seat of an airplane is possible. I would caution if you aren’t flying direct, you need a long layover as they are last off the plane. Otherwise between wheelchairs and trans, should not be a major issue.

 

as for on the ship, one of the walkers that converts to a seat is best. Easy to wait for elevator, wait outside theater, etc. 

 

as for language, they may find some staff speak their native tongue.

 

for excursions, some are handicap accessible- bus rides to glaciers, etc. 

 

why doesn’t the doctor think it is a good idea?

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I have travelled with my dad who has mobility issues.  We were on the Breakaway but here is what we found:

 

Call NCL in advance to schedule wheelchair service when checking in.  They will get you on the boat and to your room if it's ready.  You can call for wheelchair service anytime while on the ship but they will only take you from point A to point B.  I would often call for this service for my dad to get him down to restaurants from the room.  You can also have your waiter call for a wheelchair pickup to get back to the room or to be dropped off somewhere else.

 

In Miami they have small scooters for rent that are NCL approved right at the port.  I urged my dad to get one but he is stubborn and declined but 2 days into the cruise he really wished he had rented one for the week.  They are small and I saw numerous people on them on the ship.  I would encourage you to look into this so everyone enjoys themselves.

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22 hours ago, Petoonya said:

.....PS- already posted question on disabled board.

 

Out of interest, I looked at that thread....a couple of posters there are offering very sound cautionary advice! 😉

 

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OK at the risk of people saying I am not kindhearted (I am but also practical) if this person comes with

you it will impact the cruise of the others traveling with him. I have seen it work where everyone was on

the same page as to the adjustments needed  (people taking turns  giving up shore ex in Alaska ports to stay behind with a person with Parkinson's). I have also seen it be a disaster where one person had diabetes and was not flexible about taking snacks and insisted the whole group eat diner with them waaaay earlier than everyone wanted to so they could eat at a good time for them forcing people to go back to the ship and miss tours they wanted to do.It is all in PLANNING.  

Edited by Peachypooh
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1 hour ago, Peachypooh said:

OK at the risk of people saying I am not kindhearted (I am but also practical) if this person comes with

you it will impact the cruise of the others traveling with him. I have seen it work where everyone was on

the same page as to the adjustments needed  (people taking turns  giving up shore ex in Alaska ports to stay behind with a person with Parkinson's). I have also seen it be a disaster where one person had diabetes and was not flexible about taking snacks and insisted the whole group eat diner with them waaaay earlier than everyone wanted to so they could eat at a good time for them forcing people to go back to the ship and miss tours they wanted to do.It is all in PLANNING.  

 

I guess this is why I posted. I know it will impact everyone. Slow his daughter, husband and children down. Limit shore excursions. I’m an RN and my husband is a physical therapist. I feel somewhat pressured to contribute to this gentleman’s need of assistance. My husband is adamant that we branch off and do our own thing as not to impact our cruise. We work hard to be able to cruise and if it were a blood relative maybe I’d feel differently.

 

The other thing is that the man is very demanding and not a nice person! And we may invest in an extra 4 specialty dinners. He and his wife eat with their hands, and sort of have other pretty gross eating habits. I’m visiting their family right now and just watched this man drink out of the kitchen sink faucet and then spit in the kitchen sink. Their daughter my DIL is an elegant perfect lady.

 

There is nothing I can do to change my DILs mind- I know she feels stuck and in a bad position. My son is the one who is really stuck- not wanting the man 

to join us but not being able to say no to his wife. I’ve tried to appeal to both of their good senses but think this is just the way it’s going to be. I think it’ll hurt both my son and DIL if we don’t stay with them and engage in same activities, but think we’re going to be selfish and go our own way on the cruise. 

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