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Resources for Europe for Disabled Crusiers, part 2


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This is a continuation of a reposting of valuable Europe information from the old message board. Due to new character limits, this is part 2 of this thread. Please don't post questions here...information only.

 

Western Europe:

3some

Cool Cruiser

posted 09-16-03 05:09 PM

 

Just returned from this cruise with my mother who is mobile, but uses a scooter for distance. I bought a small one similar to the Star or Go-Go to keep at my house when she visits and I took it myself on Delta from Tampa to London GW.

 

Day 1. I gate checked it with no problem. I did remove the battery pack to lighten it and stored it under the seat. I met my mother at LGW (she flew on Continental from CLE w/wheel chair assistance) and had a pre-arranged driver (http://www.airporttransfers.biz) to take us, the scooter and 7 bags to the Marriott County Hall. The hotel has about 10 steps at the entrance and no accessibility at the front door. They said there is a wheelchair lift in a remote entrance, but since they moved the scooter up and down the stairs for us, we never looked for it. My mother was able to climb the stairs herself. The London Eye is next door to County Hall and is accessible from the road in back of the hotel (not the Winchester Bridge entrance). The hotel, other than the front steps and the 5 steps down to the indoor pool, is totally accessible. Our room was large enough to ride the scooter into and even had a 110 outlet to charge the batteries.

 

Day 2. My sister joined us (from Geneva) and we used airporttransfers.biz again to transport us to Dover. The Dover embarkation facitlity is totally accessible and she was able to drive onto the ship with no problems. Our stateroom was a corner aft family cabin which had plenty of room to drive the scooter in and park. It even had a power strip in the sitting room which meant I didn't need to bring the 25ft extension cord.

I have to say that having the scooter increased my mother's enjoyment of the cruise immensely. There's no way she could have walked to all the venues on a ship 3 football fields long. She was the envy of several wheelchair-bound and crutched passengers with her mobility.

 

Zeebrugge, Belgium - We took the ship's free shuttle to Blankenberge (scooter in baggage compartment of bus) and wandered around the little town until the train for Brugge departed. My sister and I easily carried the scooter on the train. When we got to Brugge, we took a cab to the main square where we ate wonderful mussels. Mom spent the next hour exploring the shops on her own while my sister and I took the canal boat ride (it would have been difficult to get her in the boat and the scooter would have been left behind). We took a taxi back to the ship.

 

LeHavre, France. Mom has been to Paris and didn't want to spend 4 to 5 hours sitting on a bus traveling, so she enjoyed the spa instead of taking a shore excursion. I believe any of the ship's excursions would have been doable with the scooter.

 

Vigo, Spain. We just spent a couple of hours exploring Vigo by foot/scooter. There are lots of steep streets and steps, but we were able to find accessible routes to see the local cathedral and souvenir stores. The ship's crew was very accommodating in getting the scooter on and off the ship during the tide changes.

 

Lisbon,Portugal. We took the ship's shuttle into Lisbon without the scooter. The 'hop on -hop off' bus was at the same stop, so we spent a couple of hours touring Lisbon by bus (they include headphones which plug into your seat for narration in several languages). We got off the bus in Belem and walked to the Monastery and the Discoveries Monument before taking a cab back to the ship. This was a bit aggressive on the walking side. If we did it over, we would take a cab with the scooter to Belem.

 

Cadiz, Spain. Once again we just walked the streets of Cadiz. Very charming little town. My sister and I rode the on-off bus and stopped at the beach while Mom returned to the ship.

 

Palma, Mallorca. Took the ship's excursion to Valldemossa and the Santa Caterina winery. Both were scooter accessible and the bus took the windy, narrow coast roads which gave us wonderful views.

 

LaSpezia, Italy. Because of windy conditions, we could not dock at Livorno and instead anchored at LaSpezia. We had booked a private tour (jandjservicesitaly.com) and was able to confirm via email that our English speaking driver would pick us up in LaSpezia. The tender wasn't as easy as the docking exit, but the crew was very helpful in getting the scooter and my mother on and off. The driver dropped us off in Florence at L'Accademia with immediate entrance through the accessible door to see David and the rest of the exhibit. There is one room that has the plaster models used for marble statues which has a very steep ramp or 4 steps. Mom parked the scooter and walked the ramp. We did our own tour of the streets of Florence to have lunch at Gilli's in Piazza Republic, see the Duomo, the Ufuzzi, and the Piazza Croce where we met our driver. He took Mom by van to the Piazz Pitti while my sister and I walked over the Ponte Vechio. He then drove us to the Piazza Michaelangelo for the pictures and then on to Pisa. He was able to drive us right to Miracle Square. Once again we got the scooter out. I must say I was very impressed at how well it handled on the cobblestone streets.

VilleFranche, France. Mother decided on a last day in the Thallasatherapy Pool in peace and quiet instead of negotiating the tender again.

We took the train to Nice.

 

Barcelona, Spain. My sister's husband had driven from Geneva to meet us at the pier, but we had too much luggage for their little car, so we also took a cab to our hotel (Continental) on LaRambla. LaRambla and the Old Quarter were easily accessible with the scooter. Unfortunately the hotel's elevator broke and we had to carry all the luggage and scooter down 3 flights the next morning.

 

Barcelona Airport. We took EasyJet to Geneva with the scooter going in my brother-in-law's car. The airport is accessible and we used a wheelchair.

Geneva Airport. Lots of stairs and inconvenient elevators.

Hope the info is helpful. In general, there were more curb cuts and other accessibility aids than expected in these old cities. Being independent of a chair pusher certainly increased the enjoyment of all the excursions for my mother.

Marti[/Quote]

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Hi All,

 

Let me first say thank you for all these wonderful posts and special thanks to Spindler for all the work she did putting this info on the boards.

 

Last year, we did 5 nights in Rome, train to Florence, 4 nights in Florence, train to Rome, Plane to Stockholm, 4 nights in Stockholm, Plane to Rome, driver picked us up at airport to luggage storage place to train in Rome to Bologna, 4 nights in Bologna, taxie to train to Venice, water taxi to Millinium. Millinium, Venice to Ft. Lauderdale, B2B.

 

My husband had a stroke at age 58 in 2002, and this was almost our first travel since then. He is mobile (with a leg brace) but his right arm remains paralized, and his walking and balance have deteriorated since last year. What I wanted all of you to know is that there are handicapped seats in 1st class on all the trains and there are personell who will load up all your luggage, take you to the train, put the luggage on the train, and help you get seated. We had two men to help us. One for luggage and one to push my husband in a chair. There are significant distances to be covered. When you arrive at your destination the same is true in reverse.

 

If you are not mobile, i.e. need your chair lifted onto the train. They do that as well. They use a forklift sort of machine. We saw them do it in Bologna.

 

I hope this will be helpful. With all our hotels, we booked on our own and emailed about our requirements. Some places worked better than others.

 

We found all this out while we were there. Our pre-trip planning on the boards really focused on the cruise. I wish I had known about this section.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Regards,

 

Shannon

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