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Cruising onboard with a scooter

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This will be my first time on a cruise with a scooter.  Can anyone give me some tips, cautions, thoughts or problems of using a scooter onboard?  The pros and cons, the good and evil, the high and lows of scooter use.  Thank you for any and all information or comments you make.  Don

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Your biggest problem on the ship will probably be the elevators. So please be prepared to wait. Other than that, just take your time and you should not have any problems. If you have a very standard scooter, do something unique to make it stand out. I have a kitty license plate on my basket. I also have a cord on my key and always ask the waiter that parks it to bring the key back to me.

 

I'm assuming that you have booked an HC cabin. If not, please verify that your scooter will fit through the cabin door. Also, you should fill out the special needs form. Ask your TA for one.

 

Most ships are very accessible, however some of the older ones have strange routes getting to public places. Thus find the routes that work best for you. The crew is always considerate and very helpful. Just take easy and you should experience a wonderful trip.

 

I assume you are referring to your cruise on the Radiance. You will require transportation to the ship's terminal. Unless they have changed things, mobility devices could not go over the bridge. All the ports of call are fairly accessible. San Juan has a steep hill, but is doable. Just make sure your scooter is always fully charged when you go ashore.

 

You have plenty of time between now and that cruise, thus you should be very familiar with your scooter. I up-graded my batteries to 12V 15AH to get better mileage. At the time I had a few extra pounds and it really made a difference. If you have one with lithium batteries, I believe you have to take the batteries out and carry them on airplanes with you. The airlines will probably ask you to fill out their form when you book.

 

Have a wonderful cruise,

Betty

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We do have a HC cabin booked.  I am renting a scooter from "Scoot Around" along with an electric recliner to sleep in.  I don't know anything about the scooter, but they are the approved Carnival scooter renter.  So I figure the battery and everything is else needed will be taken care of for me.   They will have the recliner already in the cabin, but I understand the scooter can be picked in the terminal or waiting in the cabin.  I will recheck with them again closer to the cruise.  I filled out my forms and special requests the day I booked.

Please tell me about the elevator concerns or problems.  Yes we are cruising on the Radiance, so do I need information on scooter use on the Victory or Sunrise?  Thank you for your reply!  Don

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It sounds like you pretty much have everything under control.

 

The problem with the elevators is the lack of courtesy. At times when the majority are going to some function, it may seem we have to wait forever while the able bodied just walk right in ahead of us. Seems like we just may be below their vision. Also, there are many that are very nice and allow us to have our turn. The worse I have personally experienced was a long legged man that just stepped over the front of my scooter as I was entering the elevator. Not wanting him on my lap, I stopped, but wished I hadn't. One of the cruise lines occasionally lets those of us on mobility devices escape muster before the mob in hopes that we can access the elevators. Excluding the rush times, you should not have any problems with the elevators. Ruth and I would normally head for dinner a bit early to avoid the crowd. Easier to wait at the dinning room door and dodge the mob.

 

If you plan on doing a lot of cruising, I'd suggest you consider purchasing your own scooter. From what I've heard, rental is not cheap.

 

I was in St. Maarten in December and the sidewalk into town was sort of tore up one place and I sort of got stuck. Nothing major, just an inconvenience. In Grand Turk, Carnival's private island type area is totally accessible.

 

San Juan some of the sidewalks are rather high and some are rather narrow. They do have cutouts. If you have a National Parks Access Pass, that will allow you free access to most the sights in San Juan. Castillo de San Cristóbal is close enough to the ships that you can easily get there on your own. I have been told there is one space for a mobility device on the trolley, but have never checked it out.

 

Have a wonderful cruise,

Betty

Edited by raindropsalways

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Is this your first time ever using a scooter?  If so you need to practice using one.  It's not as easy as just getting on and riding away.  You will run into and over people.  We always wait for the elevator to fill then get in front of the door to be "next on".  As stated before 99% of the people are GREAT, It's that less than 1% that you'll remember.  Have a great cruise.  (note I've been on 4 cruises with my scooter)

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51st FMS, I use a store or casino scooter when available, because I can't do a lot of walking.  I can hobble around the house and I have a cane for limited walking outside, BUT to walk all over a ship would be almost impossible and require going to the MDR for dinner around breakfast time. 

I have a HC room booked because the most needed thing needed in a cabin is grab handles in the bathroom.  I have a really hard time getting up and my balance isn't the best.  "Hey babe, can you come here and help me get off the pot?"   Not music to anyone's ear, I sure..  I need to help our marriage as much as possible. 

Great idea to take the second elevator.  I will have 4 able body walking cruise mates with me most of the time, so that might help somewhat. 

Raindropsalways, thank you for the port information. 

Ah, a question comes to mind...you said a long legged man stepped over the front of your scooter and you stopped, BUT WISHED YOU HADN'T!  Is "THAT" because you wanted to teach him some manners OR because YOU WANTED him on your lap?  Ha, ha, ha!  Don

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Just my experience.  I used my scooter in Dec. for the first time.  I found most people were very nice and made room on the elevator for me.  The scooter fit into our cabin with no problem.  Now we have a HC cabin booked on our next cruise in March.  

If you are on medicare and have a documented disability that requires you to use a scooter, medicare will pay for it.

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Best suggestion regarding elevators that I can give you is to take whichever elevator comes your way first. It doesn't matter if it is going up or down-just get on.  This is especially important on embarking and disembarking days and at meal times. Otherwise, you will be waiting forever and finally will be crushed in the dash to get into the elevator.  I would say 98.5 people are pleasant and very helpful, but there are a few bad apples as always.

I also don't let anyone else touch my scooter.  Remember those warnings about washing your hands-well some people don't.  I also don't let ship personnel drive it as my scooter cost too much for it to be dented and banged or worse.

You made a wise decision about using a scooter.  As you will see, some of the piers in ports are so long and nowhere to rest.  This will make your cruising so much better.  Have a great time!

 

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Don - The size of that guy would probably squashed me. I'm not exactly small, regardless, that guy was big. Yes, I can attest that people all over the world are wonderful. Actually in the 60 some cruises I've been, I've only experienced two incidents. The other one was some guy talking to his wife while running across traffic. He actually hit me broad side and apologized and his wife accused me of running over him. In the long run, it is probably better that he hit me. If he would have hit the railing, he might have gone over. It was an upper deck with a banister around the area where we can look down at the decks below to see everything.

 

I fully understand the benefits many can receive from using a mobility scooter and think it is great that they are using them. However, I do feel that those that who are not disabled utilize the standard cabins; most the disabled do not have any options. I can survive in a standard cabin and the hardships are minimal. Regardless, I am not really comfortable in the standard cabins. There are challenges.

 

I am not sure, however Medicare use to have some restrictions on the type of scooter. They did have a negative attitude toward the three wheel scooters. I personally do not want a large scooter. I like the little three wheel.

 

Betty

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Airdale,  That's great that you have had some experience driving one.  A few reminders,  your scooter will be much faster and more responsive than the store scooter.  Also a 3 wheel is more agile (turning tight corners) than a 4 wheeler but they are more unstable on inclines.  Have a great trip and let us all know how it went.

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1 hour ago, 51st FMS said:

.... Also a 3 wheel is more agile (turning tight corners) than a 4 wheeler but they are more unstable on inclines.  Have a great trip and let us all know how it went.

Keep this in mind when you leave the ship. The 3 wheelers are the best on the ship, but they are very unstable off.  Some sidewalks may have a slight incline toward the street-be very cautious there as it is easy to tip over; and caution when you get to street corners where there are curbcuts-always take them head on-not at an angle.  I learned this the hard way first time out on the street  I am now always  ready to put my foot out on either side of the scooter just in case it leans. 😞

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Some really great ideas.  Getting on an elevator regardless of direction of travel sounds like a plan.  Once your on...the only thing then is to reach your deck.  Smart. 

Wow I never thought about a 3 wheel scooter vs a 4 wheel scooter and how they handle.  Drive the 3 wheel like a 3 wheel tractor.  Straight at the hill never sideways.  Keeping my feet out will be like years ago riding my bike in the winter, making love to the engine for warmth, feet down like skis or out riggers for balance, taking it slow and easy.  Thanks for the heads up.  I told Scoot around I wanted a scooter with 4 wheels but they said they only rent the 3 wheel kind for ease of ship board travel, i.e. passageways, corners, getting into the cabins. etc..  Oh well.

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On 2/25/2020 at 12:15 PM, gadaboutgal said:

Best suggestion regarding elevators that I can give you is to take whichever elevator comes your way first. It doesn't matter if it is going up or down-just get on.  This is especially important on embarking and disembarking days and at meal times. Otherwise, you will be waiting forever and finally will be crushed in the dash to get into the elevator.  I would say 98.5 people are pleasant and very helpful, but there are a few bad apples as always.

I also don't let anyone else touch my scooter.  Remember those warnings about washing your hands-well some people don't.  I also don't let ship personnel drive it as my scooter cost too much for it to be dented and banged or worse.

You made a wise decision about using a scooter.  As you will see, some of the piers in ports are so long and nowhere to rest.  This will make your cruising so much better.  Have a great time!

 


Since you do not let ships personnel drive your scooter,   do you sit on your scooter when at the dining table?  Or if you are able to get off your scooter and sit in a dining chair,  where do you park your scooter?

Do you ask for a table near the entrance of the dining room for easy in and out of a crowded dining room?

I ask because my friend would like to take her first cruise with me is in a wheel chair, and uses an electric scooter for mobility.  But she is so heavy and stout that she needs someone to lift her out of her wheel chair.   She may not be able to fit in a typically sized dining room chair.  Also,  will she be able to find a place in the theater to watch the shows, and fit in a theater chair?

Hope you enjoy your cruise.  And, I pray you stay healthy in this time of the Corona virus outbreak.

Edited by Justalone

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I am able to get off my scooter and into a dining chair by myself.  We usually ask for a table close to the door.  When the dining room is not too crowded, I am able to park the scooter near my table-usually in the breakfast hours.   I, also, have a folding cane on my scooter to use when parking distance away from the table is less than 20 ft or so.  

In the buffet, I sometimes just sit on my scooter as the seat does swivel.  

I think your friend will find it comfortable to just sit in her chair at the table.  If she has a regular dining time and table, they will know to remove the chair right away for her.

 

Theaters are different on every ship.  Seating is usually the size of economy class of flying.  

Most ships with a few exceptions only have hdcp space in the last space in the upper levels.  I don't see as well as I use to, so sitting in the back of the theater is usually a waste of time for me. 

Some ships like Regal and Royal Princess actually have handicap spaces in the forward, lower rows of the theater, and I can park my scooter right in front of my seat.  MSC Seaside also has convenient access to the front lower part of the theater; however, their ships Divina and Meraviglia only have back of second floor seating for hdcp and so I will not cruise on them again.  

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I will be renting my scooter from the "Carnival approved" Scootaround.  So I am thinking that the crew will take care of it.  But if I had purchased it, I can see your concern.  I am going to buy a folding cane to carry along as you said you do.  

Great idea!  Scootaround does have a cane holder to rent, but it only takes the type of standard foot canes.  Mine is a 3 toed foot for more stability.  Don

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4 hours ago, airdale said:

I will be renting my scooter from the "Carnival approved" Scootaround.  So I am thinking that the crew will take care of it.  But if I had purchased it, I can see your concern.  I am going to buy a folding cane to carry along as you said you do.  

Great idea!  Scootaround does have a cane holder to rent, but it only takes the type of standard foot canes.  Mine is a 3 toed foot for more stability.  Don

 

Unless things have changed, please do not expect the ship to take care of the scooter. Your are the one renting it, thus it is your responsibility.

 

Have a wonderful cruise,

Betty

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On 2/29/2020 at 5:57 PM, airdale said:

Great idea!  Scootaround does have a cane holder to rent, but it only takes the type of standard foot canes.  Mine is a 3 toed foot for more stability.  Don

 

I rented from Scootaround last year and asked for a cane holder. It wasn't on the scooter. They refunded the cost of the holder, but it was annoying. This year, I decided to bring my own holder. I found this on Amazon. I just came back from a cruise and it was wonderful, I was able to use the holder to keep my cane handy, but out of the way. I wrapped it around the turn signal on the scooter.

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VirginialsForCruise, thank you for the information on San Juan's streets! 

I went and bought a fold up cane that I can carry in the basket.  It also has the 3 toed foot, but still folds up.

Were you able to pick up your scooter prior to boarding?  If not, how did you get on board?  If they took you on board in a wheelchair, did you go to right your cabin to get the scooter or if not, how did you get lunch, get around, and get to your cabin?  This will be my first time with a scooter on board.  Thanks again for the information.  Don

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10 hours ago, airdale said:

VirginialsForCruise, thank you for the information on San Juan's streets! 

I went and bought a fold up cane that I can carry in the basket.  It also has the 3 toed foot, but still folds up.

Were you able to pick up your scooter prior to boarding?  If not, how did you get on board?  If they took you on board in a wheelchair, did you go to right your cabin to get the scooter or if not, how did you get lunch, get around, and get to your cabin?  This will be my first time with a scooter on board.  Thanks again for the information.  Don

 

The cruises I've sailed on NCL, I used wheelchair assistance. They deposit wheelchair users either in the buffet or O'Sheehan's pub and you have to hobble your way to your cabin once they are open.

 

I recently went on Royal for the first time and they deposited me about 20 feet inside the ship from the gangway. I went to the buffet for some place to sit while waiting for the cabin to open..

 

I've read that some cruiselines will let you go directly to your cabin, but I don't know which ones.

 

You could get around it by not boarding until after 1PM, which seems to be when cabins are generally available. You could ask the wheelchair pusher to take you to your cabin then.

 

I know that Special Needs at Sea has kiosks outside the ships for certain cruiselines and ports. I would love that because it would eliminate the need for a wheelchair to board.

 

Once on board, talk to Guest Services about debarkation. The scooter company will tell you to leave the scooter in your cabin, but you can actually leave it in the public area where those needing wheelchair assistance to debark are staged. That is such a huge help.

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Posted (edited)

If the poster above meant Royal Caribbean, I wonder why they were deposited 20 feet inside the gangway? I just got a Pride folding mobility scooter for my husband which we received about a week before A cruise on Symphony OTS in March. Prior to that, in may and February of last year we also did well Caribbean cruises. Both times my husband was delivered to our cabin via wheelchair. timing was around noon to 1 PM. No stops in the buffet or anything so he was able to get his scooter right away. Prior to that the first time he rented one was for a princess cruise out of Vancouver. That time the scooter was waiting in the area of the gangway, outside the ship.


By the way, the scooter we bought worked out great! A breeze to open & close (this one is not an auto fold) and even though I am a 5’5”, 68 years old female I am able to lift it into a car trunk and so on. Makes a big difference because finding accessible transportation is not necessary with this type of scooter. 
 

Which ever way you go, I think you will really enjoy having scooter at your disposal.

Edited by mlbcruiser

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On 3/26/2020 at 5:09 PM, mlbcruiser said:

If the poster above meant Royal Caribbean, I wonder why they were deposited 20 feet inside the gangway? I just got a Pride folding mobility scooter for my husband which we received about a week before A cruise on Symphony OTS in March. Prior to that, in may and February of last year we also did well Caribbean cruises. Both times my husband was delivered to our cabin via wheelchair. timing was around noon to 1 PM

 

Yes, I meant Royal Caribbean. Specifically the Explorer of the Seas. I asked if I could be taken to my cabin and was told no. I was dropped near the first elevator bank we encountered after getting on the ship.

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Strange. As I understand it, the captain calls the shots regarding how things are done on his or her ship. Everything from aspects of customer service to whether or not he will open the bar for two hours free because the ship is going to get to port four hours late, & many other issues. Not sure if you just happen to get the wrong crew member or if what you Experienced is Standard procedure on explorer. I think I would’ve requested that’s a crewmember call his superior or take me to the guest services desk. That goes for NCL, mentioned above, or any other line.How do you just stayed right where he left you, I’m pretty certain another crew member would have ventured past and you could have ask that person if they could get you some assistance. I think it would be worth registering an official complaint with the cruise line.

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Just a word of advice-When I went to purchase a scooter for my 93 year old Mom, the dealer in our area ( and a Medicare rep) told us that Medicare no longer authorizes payments for or towards scooters.  I purchased really nice one and she uses it whenever we cruise or even go on a days outing.  Best money I ever spent!

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As a regular scooter user, and TA specializing in accessible travel, I'd like to offer some tips:

 

  • Watch the popular sale sites for used scooters. I've gotten some AMAZING deals! My current scooter sells for $1300. The previous owner used it TWICE and sold it to me for $300.
  • It is worth checking into rentals near your home, and taking it with you. I very much prefer having one in the airport to having someone push me around. You can ride your scooter right to the door of the plane. It will then be waiting for you  when you get off.  Note: You will need to tell them what kind of battery pack you have. What they need to hear for the majority of scooters is "non-spillable."
  • When traveling with a scooter, purchase a large backpack for the seat. This works instead of dragging around a carry-on bag.
  • For the elevators, when I'm by myself, I  go to the less busy end of the ship. (Not a great option if someone with you is walking.) For example, during dinner hours, the back elevators are crazy busy. I ride to the front, take the elevator to the floor I need, and cross over to the back. When shows are letting out, the front elevators are busy, so I use the back.
  • If you don't need the features of an accessible stateroom, scooters fit fine in regular rooms. But, make sure you select a room where the beds are closer to the balcony than the door. (Or away from the door in interior/ocean view rooms)
  • You can easily get accessible taxis at the airports and cruise port. When you do, be sure to get your driver's card. When you try to get one at a hotel, they almost always tell you there aren't any available. That's where I call my previous driver and they can almost always come right away.
  • If you're renting a car, the scooters break down into four or five pieces. Mine easily fits in the trunk of my Toyota Camry.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm happy to answer any questions.

 

Edited by payitforward

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