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Best Accessible Destination for Shore Excursions.


RJGallagher1955
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Like many, I'm dreaming of cruising again. Previously, I've rented a mobility scooter from Scootaround and pretty much stayed on board when we're docked. But now I have my own scooter and I want to get out and do shore excursions. I know getting around the ship in a scooter is a breeze, but what about at destination ports?

 

We travel on Princess and have a Hawaii and Alaska cruise booked in 2022 (I hope it's all good to go by then!) I'm quite certain we'll do the Hawaii cruise and I've looked at accessible shore excursions and there's enough available that are of interest. But, I've started to wonder if we should switch out the Alaska trip, since we've been to Alaska already.

 

So, if we did switch to another destination, knowing that we cruise on Princess, where would you suggest? I've looked at most destination ship provided accessible excursions and some places have them and others don't. We're open to exploring new places. Any suggestions which destinations provide the best accessibility options? Thanks in advance. 

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So my wife uses a scooter......went on Asian cruises, European cruises, and Caribbean cruises.  Not once did we ever book an accessible excursion.  Not once did we ever spend a day on the ship.  With that being said, everyplace is possible, with a scooter.  (Full time wheelchair users are not the same as a scooter). 

 

Example....in St Petersburg Russia, we did an overnight.  Booked a regular small group tour (16 max) and asked them how they can handle the scooter giving them all the info they needed.  They said no problem.  This was a two day excursion (In Russia, cheaper to book visa free excursion than to get a Visa and do on your own).  My wife with scooter, and 13 other people enjoyed two days and tour guild handled the routes for the scooter just fine.  We added an evening trip on top of it, and hired the company for 2 hours in between to take us to dinner etc.  Out of all the groups, we were the only ones (yes, the scooter person) to extend the evening out to 11:00pm.  Walk around the city, dinner out, and a vodka tasting event.  All the others complained they were tired. 

 

My point is simply, don't limit yourself because of a scooter.  Instead pick a place you want to go because you want to go, and not because you feel it's scooter friendly.  Than make plans to fit your needs after you pick the place.  

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5 hours ago, Joseph2017China said:

So my wife uses a scooter......went on Asian cruises, European cruises, and Caribbean cruises.  Not once did we ever book an accessible excursion.  Not once did we ever spend a day on the ship.  With that being said, everyplace is possible, with a scooter.  (Full time wheelchair users are not the same as a scooter). 

 

Example....in St Petersburg Russia, we did an overnight.  Booked a regular small group tour (16 max) and asked them how they can handle the scooter giving them all the info they needed.  They said no problem.  This was a two day excursion (In Russia, cheaper to book visa free excursion than to get a Visa and do on your own).  My wife with scooter, and 13 other people enjoyed two days and tour guild handled the routes for the scooter just fine.  We added an evening trip on top of it, and hired the company for 2 hours in between to take us to dinner etc.  Out of all the groups, we were the only ones (yes, the scooter person) to extend the evening out to 11:00pm.  Walk around the city, dinner out, and a vodka tasting event.  All the others complained they were tired. 

 

My point is simply, don't limit yourself because of a scooter.  Instead pick a place you want to go because you want to go, and not because you feel it's scooter friendly.  Than make plans to fit your needs after you pick the place.  

 

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Going to US sites like Alaska and Hawaii means the ADA is in effect. I have had good experiences in both places. I also had good experiences in Europe (especially London, England and Barcelona, Spain), Australia, and Asia. I do find I do generally better on independent excursions rather than ones from the cruise line. First, measure your scooter including its weight and be ready to provide this information. I am very open about my abilities and just move along if a provider says there is something they cannot provide. My primary problem with ship's tours is climbing into and out of the buses the cruise lines use. If you can manage those steps up into the bus, then you have lots of choices there as well. My second hint is to do a google search with the word "accessible" and the city you hope to travel to and  you might be surprised what you find. So far, my favorites have been Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Venice, Italy, and Vladavostok, Russia.

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Yes, I think we're spoiled by the ADA which is one reason we have Hawaii and Alaska booked. I'm glad to hear about other positive experiences in other countries. Yes, I can get up and down steps, I just can't stand a long time or walk too far. I will look into independent tour providers. Thanks again. 

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If you happen to take your Hawaii cruise, we were on a Celebrity cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver.   The ports were Kailua, Lahaina and Hilo.  Hilo was the only stop that did not require using a tender.   My husband uses a mobility scooter so Hilo was our best option for getting off.   Our highlight in Hilo was a helicopter ride from Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours.    https://www.bluehawaiian.com/en/   

It was booked through the cruise line and I wouldn't be surprised if Princess offers the same tour (you could check with their Access Office closer to your cruise if you don't see it listed).

 

Blue Hawaiian has an automatic chair to lift people onto the helicopter for people with mobility issues who could not otherwise board the helicopter.   This worked out perfect for getting my husband on and off the helicopter.   They even came to the port to pick us up (in a wheelchair accessible van so he was able to take his scooter) and took us back to the ship afterwards.   Here's a link from another helicopter tour showing how the lift works:    

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skhh5H5uSwg&ab_channel=JohnSage

 

This was by far the most expensive tour we have ever taken but it was worth every cent.   

 

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On 2/16/2021 at 2:27 PM, katisdale said:

Going to US sites like Alaska and Hawaii means the ADA is in effect. I have had good experiences in both places. I also had good experiences in Europe (especially London, England and Barcelona, Spain), Australia, and Asia. I do find I do generally better on independent excursions rather than ones from the cruise line. First, measure your scooter including its weight and be ready to provide this information. I am very open about my abilities and just move along if a provider says there is something they cannot provide. My primary problem with ship's tours is climbing into and out of the buses the cruise lines use. If you can manage those steps up into the bus, then you have lots of choices there as well. My second hint is to do a google search with the word "accessible" and the city you hope to travel to and  you might be surprised what you find. So far, my favorites have been Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Venice, Italy, and Vladavostok, Russia.

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/16/2021 at 2:27 PM, katisdale said:

Going to US sites like Alaska and Hawaii means the ADA is in effect. I have had good experiences in both places. I also had good experiences in Europe (especially London, England and Barcelona, Spain), Australia, and Asia. I do find I do generally better on independent excursions rather than ones from the cruise line. First, measure your scooter including its weight and be ready to provide this information. I am very open about my abilities and just move along if a provider says there is something they cannot provide. My primary problem with ship's tours is climbing into and out of the buses the cruise lines use. If you can manage those steps up into the bus, then you have lots of choices there as well. My second hint is to do a google search with the word "accessible" and the city you hope to travel to and  you might be surprised what you find. So far, my favorites have been Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Venice, Italy, and Vladavostok, Russia.

Would be against Cruise Critic Guidelines to name the tour companies you have had the most luck with

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1 hour ago, trtog7 said:

Would be against Cruise Critic Guidelines to name the tour companies you have had the most luck with

I believe it is only against CC rules to name travel agencies, but not excursion companies.  EM

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8 hours ago, trtog7 said:

Would be against Cruise Critic Guidelines to name the tour companies you have had the most luck with

 

8 hours ago, trtog7 said:

Would be against Cruise Critic Guidelines to name the tour companies you have had the most luck with

Would you let us know which tour groups you had the.

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21 hours ago, trtog7 said:

Would be against Cruise Critic Guidelines to name the tour companies you have had the most luck with

Tour companies are recommended (or not) all over the Ports of Call boards.  You just cannot recommend a tour you have not (yet) taken.  EM

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Look at doing the New England/Eastern Canada cruises.  I use a scooter and have had no problems on do it yourself tours.  Quebec's buses even have accessible lifts just like in US.  Bar Harbor, a tender port, had accessible tenders.  Fall cruises there are so enjoyable.

 

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My husband and I have never been adventurous travelers. We tend to take the easiest and most convenient way.  Since I was diagnosed with a progressive disease and now use a wheelchair and rolling walker, we are doing cruises that might have more challenges at ports we visit. This includes embarkation.  As we become less confident in our ability to manage my needs, we will switch to US and Canada centric cruises.

 

Paula

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