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Tender port and special needs passengers


workerbee45
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Has anyone had much experience with using a tender to go ashore when being disabled? Our friend can walk with assistance, but is unstable. NCL will not give us an answer until they can assess the situation. I’m just wondering if other wheelchair bound people have been able to go ashore using a tender. 

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I am not handicapped, but would like to present the situation of the other passengers and crew.

 

I recall being on a tender boat in the port of Maui. The waves were significant and the boat was tossing around. A man who had a wheelchair was brought to the dock by three crew members. The man was quite hefty and the crew were all quite thin. His "able bodied assistant" was his old and fragile wife who was no help at all. The man was the last one to board and the last one off. It took him several minutes to have the gumption and/or strength to take the one necessary step. I was quite concerned for the three assisting crew members who were at risk of being injured in the maneuver. 

 

That observation led me to the thinking that there is a time to stay back. The wildly rocking boat should have been everyone's first cue to hesitate and rethink. While no one was injured, the situation could have easily gone south with injuries. 

 

Just food for thought.

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When we cruised on Cunard pre-Covid - the morning  of a tender port - they set up a system in the ballroom - with 2 marks on the floor about 1m? apart (I decent length stride) - you had to be able to step from one to   use the tenders. Without assistance.  On the actual tender the distance was accurate but there were plenty of hand holds and arms being offered - but the weather was dead calm too. .  You would not have made it if you were in a wheelchair - you would have been ok using a stick. 

 

On an expedition style cruise we did we had to jump from the external steps to the tender - with the assistance of 3 crew - you were coached as to where to stand and when exactly to step to time it with the waves. It was quite exciting when the wind changed and were suddenly on the exposed side!  

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Thanks everyone!
Yes, we are assuming that he won’t be able to join us. I was hoping that the tender would have wheelchair accessible capability. Something to think about when booking a large ship. They don’t always fit on the dock. There are no other ships in port that day, but the Epic is too large, so a tender is needed. 

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17 minutes ago, workerbee45 said:

Thanks everyone!
Yes, we are assuming that he won’t be able to join us. I was hoping that the tender would have wheelchair accessible capability. Something to think about when booking a large ship. They don’t always fit on the dock. There are no other ships in port that day, but the Epic is too large, so a tender is needed. 

I do not think any ship will take someone in a wheelchair onto a tender - the risk of mishap is too great, the inconvenience to other passengers too unfair.  The sad, but true, fact about being handicapped is that it means one cannot do everything one would like to do.

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I have been in rough seas on tenders a couple of times, I am not handicapped.   Would prefer to stay on board in such situations even though able bodied.  I have seen cruise line staff assist handicapped folks.  I think they have the experience to call the shots of yes or no. 

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9 hours ago, workerbee45 said:

Thanks everyone!
Yes, we are assuming that he won’t be able to join us. I was hoping that the tender would have wheelchair accessible capability. Something to think about when booking a large ship. They don’t always fit on the dock. There are no other ships in port that day, but the Epic is too large, so a tender is needed. 

The telling statement you made is THE EPIC IS TOO LARGE. And the unfortunate thing is they keep building larger ships and getting rid of the small ships.

 

 

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5 hours ago, pris993 said:

I have been in rough seas on tenders a couple of times, I am not handicapped.   Would prefer to stay on board in such situations even though able bodied.  I have seen cruise line staff assist handicapped folks.  I think they have the experience to call the shots of yes or no. 

We once had a tender in Corfu (3 ships, 2 docks) in rough seas. Despite being helped onto the tender, a gentleman fell on his elbow. I cringed as I thought what if that had been DW who had previously broke an elbow and even touching it made her wince in pain.

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

I do not think they would ever consider taking someone IN a wheelchair on to a tender.

I don’t know that a crew member would lift an occupied wheelchair onto a tender, but at Half Moon Cay using the large local tenders, a person in wheelchair/scooter can roll right onto the upper level of the tender, roll to the aft and down a ramp to the lower level.  Once at the dock, they roll up the gangway and onto the island.  
    The one time I was at Princess Cays, they had local tenders and the one I was on had a couple of children in small power chairs secured to a railing at the entrance.  Had to walk by them when boarding.  EM

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We've learned that one must not only be able to board the tender from the ship, but also be able to board it from the port in what could turn out to be much worse weather/sea conditions. 

Crew are very well trained and capable, but there are limits even for them.

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On 12/7/2021 at 10:42 AM, Essiesmom said:

I don’t know that a crew member would lift an occupied wheelchair onto a tender, but at Half Moon Cay using the large local tenders, a person in wheelchair/scooter can roll right onto the upper level of the tender, roll to the aft and down a ramp to the lower level.  Once at the dock, they roll up the gangway and onto the island.  
    The one time I was at Princess Cays, they had local tenders and the one I was on had a couple of children in small power chairs secured to a railing at the entrance.  Had to walk by them when boarding.  EM

Hopefully the Epic is equipped with this type of tender! 😊

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On 12/6/2021 at 9:36 PM, workerbee45 said:

Thanks everyone!
Yes, we are assuming that he won’t be able to join us. I was hoping that the tender would have wheelchair accessible capability. Something to think about when booking a large ship. They don’t always fit on the dock. There are no other ships in port that day, but the Epic is too large, so a tender is needed. 

 

Hi

You won't find a tender boat that "accessible", except for a few stops as Essiesmom describes. I had cruised with my wife for many years when she needed a wheelchair, but she was still able to walk a little. Very often on the tender boat you would need to also be able to either climb up or down one set of stairs I would be able to push her right to the tender where she would have to need to be able to take the step off the ship onto the tender and walk to a seat. They crew were able to give her a hand to steady her, and I was able to carry the folded wheelchair onto the tender myself. Remembering that when the seas are rough this is not always an easy process. If your friend cannot do this safely, I would suggest they not attempt to board a tender. 

 

If they are looking at using a mobility scooter, I would say that would be an absolute "no" from most every cruise line. 

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Tenders come in all shapes and sizes.  Some you need to step on, others have a rolling ramp that moves with the waves on a deck.  There is no one answer, but if you book a tender port, accept that the answer will be no, and the crew will tell you this at the time. 

 

There are rare times that a scooter can get on, but that is rare.  Walking on is the one way, with a push WC to go along with you.  

 

My wife, can walk, but if we choose a port with a tender, she makes that decision before we even go.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I am disabled and I do not go on Tenders.My wife will go and I will stay in the cabin or on deck if we are traveling with friends.

I did a tender once because we were cruising with our children and grandchildren but we had to leave the private island by ourselves because I needed to be back on the ship and I said never again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My husband has used a mobility scooter for many years. We have cruised on Princess a number of times with it. We have never been denied the use of the tender. He can walk very short distances, so the crew helps deposit the scooter into the tender. Only one time did we encounter a resistant crew. The ocean was calm and there was no reason for them to act that way. A supervisor was called and we boarded the tender. 

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