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Resources for Europe for Disabled Cruisers, Part 3


Splinter

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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 3 of this thread. Please don't post questions here...information only.

 

Mediterranean

DEL67

Cool Cruiser

posted 07-29-03 06:31 PM

 

We just returned from our last trip where we spent 2 days in Barcelona and then took the 7 day cruise on the Splendour of the Seas. We had a great time in spite of an injury to my husband and the fact that it was very hot.

Below is a high level summary of our trip emphasizing accessibiility. Please note that we prearranged private transportation in Italy not only because buses are very difficult for my husband who uses a wheelchair due to MS, but also because we could go close to the sights as opposed to having to walk from the lots where the ship tour buses park.

 

Barcelona. Very wheelchair accessible. Reasonably well paved sidewalks with curb cuts. We stayed at the Best Western Atrium Palace on the Gran Via about a 5 minute walk from Catalunya Square. The room was small, but modern and well appointed. It had 2 bathrooms, one with a wider door and bars. The front desk spoke English and were very helpful. The room rate included an extended continental breakfast.

 

Many tour buses and public buses in Barcelona are wheelchair accessible. We took the red tour bus because we did not see the handicap symbol on the other tour bus. The red tour buses make a large loop around the city which can take 2½ to 3 hours to complete. Buses are spaced about 10 minutes apart and about every other bus was wheelchair accessible. The other tour bus which seemed to come more frequently was was more crowded and made two smaller, intersecting loops. One caution, either use the belt to secure the wheelchair or have someone hold on to the chair. My husband’s chair tipped over on a curve, injuring him.

Places we visited in Barcelona included:

- Picasso Museum – wheelchair accessible

- The Ramblas - the main street. Strolling it is constant entertainment with side walk cafes, street actors, a bird and a flower market, street vendors, etc.

- Estai Gaudi (Gaudi apartments) – wheelchair accessible other than the roof.

- Sagrada Familia (the unfinished cathedral bottom level and basement “museum” are wheelchair accessible. The towers are not,since there are steps to the elevator.

- Miro Museum – wheelchair accessible

- The Poble Espanol (Spanish Village) – only about 10% accessible

 

• Cannes. The ship docked in Cannes instead of Villefranche as scheduled. The city itself mainly has shops (closed on Sunday) and beaches. Cannes is also much further than Villefranche from Nice and Monaco which we wanted to see. We took a four hour taxi ride that should have been 2 1/2 hours. We were overcharged so be sure to reconfirm the price at the start of your trip. The driver took us to:

- Several beach towns (boring after the first one)

- St Paul De Vence: A lovely hilltop medieval town full of artisan shops . The ride to and from it was also interesting. However, the town was not particularly accessible due to the slope and pavement.

- Nice which might have been interesting, but all we did was ride around

- He also drove by several artists homes.

• Florence/Pisa. We hired a car with driver through driversinrome.com Paulo, the driver, was very good. However, he had to leave us once we were in downtown Florence since it is primarily pedestrian only. The museums were almost all closed since it was Monday. We went to:

- Pisa. Paulo suggested we go there first to avoid the crowds. basen on what other passengers who went there in the afternoon said, he was right. Paulo stopped in front of the tower and suggested we walk a few blocks to the town square which was pretty.

- An overlook where we could see all of Florence as well of one of the replicas of the statues of David.

- The Vecchi Palace. About 80% wheelchair accessible, but very hot.

- The Duomo, a lovely cathedral with a beautiful marble façade. Wheelchair

accessible through a door on the right side of the church.

- The oldest Jewish Synagogue in Florence. Wheelchair accessible.

 

•Rome. We hired a car and driver through http://www.romelimosines.com. Rome is also 1 1/2 hours from the port. The driver Enzo (sp?)was very knowledgeable and helpful with the wheelchair. Thanks to him, we were able to see an unbelievable number of sights because he took us close to each one. We spent time at:

- The Catacombs – Fascinating, but not

wheelchair accessible

- The Coliseum – wheelchair accessible through

Constantine’s Gate, but get your tickets at

the Pallentine Hill gate first to avoid a

long wait

- The Partheon – wheelchair accessible

- Trevi Fountain

- The Sistine Chapel. Wheelchairs enter

through the exit path

- St Peters Basilica. Wheelchairs enter to

the right.

We also drove on the Apian Way and saw a myriad of other sites including:

- The old and new city walls

- The Circus Maximus

- The Forum

- The Spanish Steps

- The Ventian Consulate

- The Parliament Building

- The Old Stock Exchange

- The Obelisk

 

- Naples. Two other passengers joined us as Sorrento Limos provided a van. The driver, Julio, was knowledgeable and helpful. We toured the Amalfi Coast which was magnificent. We also went to Pompeii which is not wheelchair accessible.

 

- Malta. It was over 100 degrees and we had been told that nothing was accessible so my husband stayed on the ship while my daughter and I took a tour. We found that he could have gone to Mdina, a medieval walled city which has a lovely cathedral. The pavement was uneven in places and there were no curb cuts, but it could be visited using a manual chair provided there was someone to assist getting the chair up curbs etc.

I hope that this helps anyone else who is thinking of going on a Mediterranean cruise. Let me know if you would like more information.

DEL[/Quote]

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  • 1 month later...

Hi All,

 

Let me first say thank you for all these wonderful posts and special thanks to Splinter 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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